Another Event Lost To Sequester
While EAA and Sun 'n Fun weren't happy about paying for their own controller staff for their airshow events, at least they had the resources to do it, which isn't true for many smaller events around the country. At Columbia Airport in Tuolumne County, Calif., the 47th annual Father's Day Fly-in never happened last weekend, due to the cost for the FAA to staff a temporary tower. "We don't have the money," airport supervisor Jim Thomas told the local Union Democrat news. An "airport appreciation day" was held instead, with airplane rides, a pancake breakfast, and a barbecue. In addition, many local airshows have been cancelled due to the unavailability of military aircraft, especially the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.
In Rhode Island, the annual June airshow hosted by the National Guard since 1991 was cancelled when the Blue Angels were grounded. The event, which is free to the public, has raised more than $1.5 million for a local children's hospital. At least 64 airshows across the country have been cancelled due to the lack of military participation, according to John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, and the number is still rising. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., has introduced a measure that would require the U.S. Department of Defense to reconsider its blanket prohibition on U.S. military support and involvement in airshows, ICAS said this week. "Airshows in the United States have a $1.5 billion economic impact on the communities in which the events are held," Cudahy said. "That impact has been significantly reduced this year … Needless damage was being done to our industry and it's encouraging to see our elected leaders taking proactive steps to correct this problem."