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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 bythe Pentagon.

They have been groundedsince April, and thus through most of their 2013 schedule, due to thefederal spending cuts known as sequestration.

"We'reexcited to be out there again for the public and representing theNavy," said Lt. Katie Kelly, a spokeswoman for the elite flight team.

TheBlue Angels are scheduled to perform 34 shows in 2014, starting March15 in California with the finale coming in November at Pensacola NavalAir Station.

Kelly said the team received the news from Navy higher-ups Monday afternoon.

Cmdr.Thomas Frosch, the lead pilot on the team, said, "Our performancesprovide a unique opportunity to inspire millions to connect with andsupport our service members, and we are looking forward to an exciting2014 season."

Thefunding cutbacks have limited the team's practice flying to 11 hoursmonthly for each pilot. But the 125-person unit will be allowed tofollow its normal winter tradition of intense preparation for the airshow season at the Naval Air Station in El Centro, Calif.

"Ithink it's outstanding that the Blue Angels are back in the skies.These great aviators have worked so hard and now they'll get demonstratetheir skills that bring out everyone's patriotism," said car dealerSandy 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 theNavy an estimated $20 million.

ButPentagon officials said they have a new plan that will save much morethan that by reducing various military community outreach programs suchas band, ceremonial unit appearances and port visits, while allowing theBlue 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.

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