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Indianapolis Air Show grounded for good, organizers say

November 1, 2013

Organizers of the Indianapolis Air Show have decided to ground the annual aviation event for good, according to a statement on the event’s website.

“The Executive Committee of the Indianapolis Air Show has decided not to produce an event in 2014 and thereafter,” the statement said. “We appreciate the support the Air Show has received over the past 16 years; however, current circumstances indicate that it is impracticable to produce future Air Shows.”

The next show was scheduled to take place June 13-14 at Indianapolis Rergional Airport near Mount Comfort east of Indianapolis. This year’s show, originally scheduled for June, was called off in February, with organizers citing the potential impact of the federal government’s sequestration cuts as the reason.

Robert Duncan, chairman of the show's executive committee, said at the time that organizers were most concerned about the absence of the Blue Angels, which couldn’t participate due to the budget cuts.

The jet team typically made a 25-percent to 30-percent difference in the gate admissions, Duncan said, and sponsors weren't signing up as quickly because of uncertainty about the Blue Angels.

The committee was trying to reinvent the show for 2014, perhaps by adding a 5k run, carnival games or more civilian aircraft, Duncan said.

Previously, the show had a 16-year run, and would draw up to 100,000 spectators. Proceeds from the show have benefited local philanthropic organizations.

Dozens of air shows that draw tens of thousands of people and generate millions of dollars for local economies have been cancelled this year after the military grounded its jet and demonstration teams because of automatic federal budget cuts.

For years, the biggest draws at air shows have been the military's two elite jet teams, the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds, and their intricate stunts. The armed services also have provided F-16, F-18 and F-22 fighter jets and the U.S. Army Parachute Team, known as the Golden Knights.

All the teams were grounded as of April 1 to save money, and the military also dramatically curtailed its help with ground displays of various aircraft.

Those cutbacks have affected more than 200 of the approximately 300 air shows held in the United States each year, according to John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows.

A call to the show's offices was not immediately returned Friday morning.
 

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