U.S. Navy's Blue Angels to take flight again in 2014 season

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 22, 2013 1:20 PM

(Reuters) - The renowned Blue Angels precision flying team will return to the skies next year for a full air show season after being grounded for much of 2013 because of federal spending cuts, the U.S. Navy said.

The flight demonstration squadron is scheduled to perform 65 shows at 34 locations across the United States, with the first show set for March 15 at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California, the Navy said.

The 2014 season will wrap up on November 8 at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, where the 130-person team is based.

"Our performances provide a unique opportunity to inspire millions to connect with and support our service members," said Commander Thomas Frosch, flight leader for the Blue Angels.

The group said it would discuss its return for the 2014 season at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Pensacola.

The flying team is seen as a key community outreach effort for the military, but active-duty troops were given priority amid $85 billion in automatic budget cuts that began taking effect last spring.

Launched in 1946 to enhance recruiting, the Blue Angels program costs about $40 million a year.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; editing by Gunna Dickson)