Air Force Cuts Back On Demo Flights

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The U.S. Air Force will scale back single-ship demo flights for next year's airshow season, the Air Combat Command announced last week. "We face significant fiscal constraints," the ACC said in a statement (PDF). Those constraints require "tough decisions," and the ACC said it will scale back from sponsoring six single-ship demo teams to just one. The F-22 demo team will perform at up to 20 events. The A-10, F-16, and F-15 demos will not fly. The Air Force will continue to support a full season for the Thunderbirds airshow team.

The change will allow the ACC to reallocate more than 900 sorties to its wings around the country, so they can maximize their flying hours for combat readiness training. "Most importantly," the ACC said, "reallocating those sorties will provide an increase in more than 25 combat-ready fighter pilots -- that's a very good thing for our nation and wise stewardship of our limited resources." The Thunderbirds schedule will be announced this week at the annual meeting of the International Council of Air Shows, in Las Vegas.