Rockford AirFest Postponed As Blue Angels Cancel

The U.S. Navy's famous fliers were to be the headline act at the show June 1-2

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Federal budget cuts have forced the Blue Angels to cancel practices, putting their chances of performing at the Rockford show in doubt.

    Chicago Rockford International Airport officials say they're postponing AirFest 2013 after the Blue Angels pulled out of the show.

    The U.S. Navy's famous fliers were to be the headline act at the show June 1-2.

    Officials say the Blue Angels must put in a minimum number of practice hours before any airshow, but have stopped practicing due to federal budget cuts. The cancelled practices put their chances of performing at the Rockford show in doubt.

    Airport director Mike Dunn says it was difficult to attract and retain sponsors and plan the show without a definite commitment from the Blue Angels.

    Officials plan to move the show to Labor Day weekend and will evaluate other options. That includes reaching out to the aviation community for unique civilian displays and flight demonstrations.

    In Chicago, the Thunderbirds bowed out of the annual Air & Water Show because of the sequestration battle that pulled billions from the federal budget.

    "Due to the impact of sequestration, all participation in air shows and flyovers after April 1 have been canceled," said Maj. Darrick Lee, spokesman for the Air Force Thunderbirds. "We’re still hoping to be flying again in the future, and we’re going to be ready when that time comes. But it’s just looking like that’s not going to happen in the 2013 season."