Indianapolis Air Show grounded for good, organizers say

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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.


  • Typical
    As always, we'll have to venture to another city to see a good show. Indiana is such a hayseed state!
  • Over reach
    This was really a great event, and an Indianapolis asset. I was at the first one, the last one and 15 total. It started as an aviation event that attracted spectators, but somewhere along the way morphed in a spectator event that happened to have airplanes. I knew it was doomed when the VIP stands went up for the "elite" show goers. It was no longer a family friendly, home town kind of event. It became a show piece to stroke the egos of the organizers and their friends. It has failed because of their delusions of grandiosity and self importance. I predict the air show will be back again, as an aviation event, rather than a spectacle, with different (better) leadership.
  • Hop over to Dayton...
    I attended the Indy Air Show a few years ago when the highlight was the F22 Raptor (Outstanding!). I'm dissappointed for us, but I would highly recommend the Dayton Air Show next June 28 and 29. The Blue Angels are scheduled to fly, unless congress screws us again.
  • Indyman is correct
    Any military demo team serves the DOD, not the public. The DOD can ground them at any time and did so not only during the sequester, but also before that due to a flight rule violation by the Blues, which caused them to miss subsequent shows at a huge cost to those who planned for them to be there. Unfortunately, if they don't show, you still have a huge financial commitment for their accommodations which you can't get back. I do share Indyman's observation that there are only so many things physics will allow you to do with an airplane. Perhaps declining attendance had something to do with a "been there, done that" viewpoint.
  • Sorry...
    While I never went to this, I do understand that it was typically a big event for the area. However, as many people experienced during the recent Government shutdown, there are unfortunate consequences when funding is either cut, eliminated, or reduced. When people make known their dismay with things, then, and only then, may we move forward.
  • Correction, the Blue Angels are SCHEDULED to fly a complete season. With the threat of sequester for next year and additional shutdowns, it is very possible the military my cut the schedules again with very little notice. I am betting that those in charge did not want to deal with trying bring in sponsors who are gun shy after last year nor do they want to deal with the fallout if the Blue Angels had to cancel closer to the show after thousands of dollars had been expended but before tickets were bought.
  • Blue Angels 2014
    The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are flying a complete schedule in 2014. The Indianapolis Air Show's problems lay elsewhere. They switched dates a few years ago to accommodate getting one of these elite squadrons, did little publicity, then wondered why the turnout was lower. Another year, they scheduled with one of the squadrons incredibly late and had to take a lousy timeslot again resulting in lower attendance. Other than those squadrons, the shows had become redundant snores of yet another acrobat in their overpowered planes. No matter when the show was, it was always incredibly muddy on the grounds with little ongoing effort made to remedy the situation although there seemed to be hundreds of rented golf carts buzzing around doing nothing.
  • MS
    That's too bad. We always had so much fun.

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