From the editor: Air show decision is just ‘plane’ wrong
Last week’s Pentagon announcement that it has grounded military flights at this fall’s Miramar Air Show is both disappointing and frustrating.
Officials at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar were informed Friday that military aircraft would not be allowed to participate due to sequestration budget cuts. Those officials had been somewhat hopeful that their request would be approved since the air show, considered the largest of its kind in the country, is a money maker due to corporate sponsorships and some spectators paying for premium seats. Another factor in Miramar’s favor was that the show would be held Oct. 4-6, just after the start of the new federal fiscal year.
However, the higher-ups in Washington nixed the request.
The decision represents “strike two” against the hugely popular show. The first strike came earlier this year, when the budget-strapped Blue Angels performance team canceled the balance of its performance season.
State Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, in a pre-denial July 3 letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, wrote that “many of our constituents are asking whether or not the administration’s sequestration strategy is to make the most visible and punitive reductions possible, regardless of their actual fiscal impact, while programs with a potentially larger fiscal impact are left untouched.”
Count me among those who question that strategy and who think both the Blue Angels and MCAS Miramar aircraft should be participating this fall.
Base officials will spend the next week or so deciding whether the weekend air show, which annually draws 500,000 spectators, should be held as planned. Ground (“static”) displays of military aircraft are permitted, as are aerial demonstrations by private pilots and teams from outside the U.S. The hope here is that the show will go on as planned and will be well attended by Southern Californians who are proud of what our military does in spite of misguided budget policies in Washington.
– Steve Dreyer
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