News / USA

Budget Cuts Ground US Military's Precision Flying Teams

Budget Cuts Ground US Military's Precision Flying Teamsi
X
March 08, 2013 11:29 PM
U.S. military demonstration flight teams, like the Air Force's "Thunderbirds" and the Navy's "Blue Angels," are facing tough decisions under the federal spending cuts known as sequestration. The Thunderbirds have canceled their entire air show schedule starting April 1, including a planned visit to the Asia- Pacific region. As VOA’s Carolyn Presutti reports, these military "ambassadors" are scrambling to keep up their flying proficiency.
Budget Cuts Ground US Military's Precision Flying Teams
U.S. military demonstration flight teams, like the Air Force's "Thunderbirds" and the Navy's "Blue Angels," are facing tough decisions under the federal spending cuts known as sequestration.  The Thunderbirds have canceled their entire air show schedule starting April 1, including a planned visit to the Asia- Pacific region. These military “ambassadors” are scrambling to keep up their flying proficiency.

An estimated 15 million people at air shows in the US and abroad this year will not see the fast-flying squadrons.  The cuts are grounding both teams.

This year the Thunderbirds were planning 60 demonstrations for their 60th anniversary, including shows in South Korea, Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines.

But right now, all the pilots can do is practice these maneuvers for their final two March shows.

Major Darrick Lee of the Thunderbirds says his team will switch their focus after April 1 to being local ambassadors near their base in Nevada. The rest of the schedule is canceled for 2013 both stateside and worldwide.

“When you are talking about going internationally, it’s not so much about recruiting as it is to bolster the relationship with the existing Air Force contingent overseas and their partners nearby,” Lee said.

“We see it on our FB page every day: 'when are you coming to this country, when are you coming to this country.'”

Lieutenant Katie Kelly says the navy’s Blue Angels will stand down all of April and don't have direction beyond that.  But even if Congress approves a budget, pilots must re-acclimate to high gravitational forces during their aerobatic maneuvers.   

“That’s why we fly six days a week, so they have that tolerance, their “g” tolerance.  So, if the team is down for an extended period of time, it would require training to ramp the team back up so they continue to perform safely,” Kelly said.

Both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds will perform at two air shows before the budget cuts force them to land away from their fans.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Me from: Here
March 09, 2013 4:39 PM
Blame the obstructionist Republicans, they're the root cause of this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid