About Sequestration & Its Effects on the Airshow Industry

 

By definition (where it applies to this portion of Zinger Aviation Media), sequestration refers to the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget if the cost of running the government exceeds either an arbitrary amount or the the gross revenue it brings during the fiscal year.  Simply put, sequestration is the employment of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the face of annual budget deficits. 

The amount of spending cuts in 2013 amounted to approximately $85 billion, of which approximately $42.7 billion was cut from the Department of Defense budget.  As you can tell, the DOD took a HUGE hit from these spending cuts.  These cuts by the DOD were reported on and covered repeatedly by all members of the mass media, and of course, airshows in the United States and abroad took a hit.

Not only did these cuts affect the airshow season immensely in 2013, these cuts continued on into 2014.  Dozens of airshows were cancelled (scroll down for a nearly complete list of 2013 and 2014 cancellations) as was all military participation at airshows and all public outreach events beginning on April 1 and lasting through the end of 2013.  It should be clearly noted that sequestration did not affect the Royal Canadian Air Force's participation in airshows, as the Snowbirds and CF-18 flew full seasons, where possible.

Here is a brief list of what was cancelled in 2013:

  • Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Golden Knights, Leap Frogs, USAFA Wings of Blue, and Black Daggers airshow appearances from April 1 through the end of the airshow season.

  • All single-ship demonstration team airshow appearances from April 1 through the end of the airshow season.

  • All military flyovers for all events as well as all military static displays.

  • All appearances by the official armed forces bands.

  • All airshows and open houses held on military installations as well as other airshows that depended on military participation.

In 2014, the airshow industry experienced the following changes from 2013:

  • Restoration of appearances of the Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, Golden Knights, Leap Frogs, USAFA Wings of Blue, and Black Daggers at airshows.

  • Restoration of many airshows and open houses held on military installations as well as other airshows that depended on military participation.

  • Restoration of USAF static displays at many airshows across the country.

    • Almost no static displays from US Navy and USMC aircraft unless at their home base.

  • Resumption of demonstrations by the F-22 Raptor Demo Team.

  • Resumption of limited, three-pass demonstrations from the Viper West Demo Team.

  • Resumption (albeit at a very limited number of airshows) of AV-8B Harrier and MV-22 Osprey demonstrations.

  • Debut of the F-35 Lightning II at several major military airshows.

  • No Hornet and Super Hornet demonstrations from VFA-106 and VFA-122.

    • However, VFA-106 received special approval to fly demonstrations at only one airshow in all of 2014 - their home show at NAS Oceana.

  • No flyovers for non-airshow events, though few NASCAR events did have Thunderbird flyovers.

  • Many military airshows did have their locally-based assets in the flying displays.

 

Sequestration- and Federal Budget Cut-Related
Cancellations for the 2014 Airshow Season

Indianapolis, IN Vidalia, GA
Martinsburg, WV March ARB, CA
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA Joint Base Andrews, MD
MCAS Cherry Point, NC Kona, HI
Pittsburgh, PA Shaw AFB, SC
Portsmouth, NH Cape Girardeau, MO
This is a Snowbirds-related cancellation.

 

Sequestration- and Federal Budget Cut-Related
Cancellations for the 2013 Airshow Season

This list is incomplete as other sources may list more show sites than Zinger Aviation Media.

All USAF Thunderbirds appearances after April 1 All US Navy Blue Angels appearances in 2013
All US Army Golden Knights appearances in 2013 All USAF F-22 demos and Heritage Flights in 2013
Luke AFB, AZ in March Langley AFB, VA in May
MacDill AFB, FL in April Tyndall AFB, FL in April
Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC in May Dover AFB, DE in August
Indianapolis, IN in June Jackson, MS in May
Martinsburg, WV in May Myrtle Beach, SC in June
Fairchild AFB, WA in May JB Charleston, SC in June
JB San Antonio-Randolph, TX in November NAS Corpus Christi, TX in April
Kalispell, MT in July Barksdale AFB, LA in May
Burlington, VT in August Lynchburg, VA in May
MCAS Beaufort, SC in April Dyess AFB, TX in May
Cleveland, OH in September Nellis AFB, NV in November
Brunswick, ME in September Rochester, NY in June
St. Cloud, MN in July Offutt AFB, NE in August
Rockford, IL in June, then September
(June show was postponed until Labor Day, then cancelled AGAIN.)
Gary, IN in July
Binghamton, NY in August NAS Oceana, VA in September
San Francisco Fleet Week in October Joint Base Pearl Harbor/Hickam, HI in August
NAS Patuxent River, MD in September Latrobe, PA in April
North Kingstown, RI in June NAS Point Mugu, CA in September
NAS Jacksonville, FL in October Sheppard AFB, TX in May
Kansas City, MO in August Fargo, ND in August
Eau Claire, WI in September Wendover, UT in September
Santa Maria, CA in August Canton, GA in September
MCAS Miramar, CA in October  

 

Please e-mail me if you are aware of any changes and cancellations that were missed.