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Fort Worth Air Show To Go On Without Navy Blue Angels

By Joel Thomas CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 News) – Their thundering passes over crowded airport taxiways are the heart of The Fort Worth Alliance Air Show. Their precise formations and death defying near misses even stops traffic on the roads around Alliance Airport. But there will be no roar of the Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration team this year.

Sequestration means the U.S. Navy doesn’t have the money to fly air shows in the group’s brilliant blue and yellow F-18 fighters.  And that sequestration fall-out left the future of the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show up in the air.

“It was devastating,” said Tom Harris, President of Alliance Air Services who helped decide the fate of the 2013 air show. “We’ve been very fortunate in our city, at our airport, to have a major military jet team perform just about every year for the last 10 or 15 years.”

“You look at that as the focal point of your air show,” said Fort Worth Council Member Zim Zimmerman, a staunch proponent of Fort Worth area aviation. “And there was discussion. Do we have it? Do we not have it?”

The reality air show organizers face is without the Blue Angels the show won’t draw the same crowds.

But canceling the show might also mean the Alliance air show would be grounded for good.

“Once you cancel the air show, its awfully hard to get it started back up,” Zimmerman said. “And even if they wind up losing a little bit of money this year, it will be a place holder. It will keep everybody focused on the idea there is an air show at alliance and its something everybody can be proud of.”

“The show will go on,” Harris told a small crowd that had gathered in an Alliance hanger for a press conference.

Behind Harris were parked examples of what would allow the show continue; a Bell helicopter (Bell is the air show’s sponsor) and several examples of World War II vintage aircraft.

With little support from the military to put up displays, the focus will turn to vintage aviation and civilian aerobatic flyers. The air show will bring in much larger displays of world war two aviation and military hardware than it normally has. Organizers say it will be a different air show, but they hope different will still draw crowds until the Blue Angels are in the air again.

The Fort Worth Alliance Air Show takes place October 19 & 20, 2013.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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