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Budget cuts likely to curtail air show tourism revenue this summer

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform during Air Power Day at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 21. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson) (Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
Air Power Day 2009 (Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
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Updated: 3/10/2013 10:42 am
By RUSS BYNUM
The Associated Press
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Deep budget cuts in Washington mean military flight teams will likely be no-shows at air shows across the U.S. starting this spring, leaving dozens of host cities bracing for thinner crowds and lost tourism dollars.

When $85 billion in automatic cuts kicked in March 1, the Air Force canceled shows at bases from Florida to Arizona and grounded its formation-flying pilots, the Thunderbirds effective at the end of the month.

The Thunderbirds are based at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.

The Army's Golden Knights parachute team also canceled performances. The Navy's famous Blue Angels said only that military commanders intend to cancel their April shows, though nothing is officially canceled yet.

John Cudahy of the International Council of Air Shows said at least 150 U.S. air shows each year count on military performers. Without them, he estimates up to a third of the shows might cancel altogether.

AP-WF-03-10-13 1553GMT

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