Pensacola, Florida (PNJ) -- The return of the Blue Angels for their 2014 air show season,
including Lakeland's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, has been funded by
They have been grounded
since April, and thus through most of their 2013 schedule, due to the
federal spending cuts known as sequestration.
excited to be out there again for the public and representing the
Navy," said Lt. Katie Kelly, a spokeswoman for the elite flight team.
Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 34 shows in 2014, starting March
15 in California with the finale coming in November at Pensacola Naval
Kelly said the team received the news from Navy higher-ups Monday afternoon.
Thomas Frosch, the lead pilot on the team, said, "Our performances
provide a unique opportunity to inspire millions to connect with and
support our service members, and we are looking forward to an exciting
funding cutbacks have limited the team's practice flying to 11 hours
monthly for each pilot. But the 125-person unit will be allowed to
follow its normal winter tradition of intense preparation for the air
show season at the Naval Air Station in El Centro, Calif.
think it's outstanding that the Blue Angels are back in the skies.
These great aviators have worked so hard and now they'll get demonstrate
their skills that bring out everyone's patriotism," said car dealer
Sandy Sansing, former chairman of the Greater Pensacola Chamber.
One of their first air shows will be April 5 and 6 at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland. They'll perform in four other Florida shows.
Grounding the Blues this past summer saved the
Navy an estimated $20 million.
Pentagon officials said they have a new plan that will save much more
than that by reducing various military community outreach programs such
as band, ceremonial unit appearances and port visits, while allowing the
Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds to perform at air shows.
The Blue Angels 2014 air show season schedule can be found at www.blueangels.navy.mil.