Blue Angels cancel appearance at May 5-6 air show

TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA-- The Viper East F-16 Demonstration jet completes a dedication pass March 11, 2005.   (U.S. Air Force Photo/Phyllis Lithenal)

Air Combat Command's Viper East F-16 demonstration jet completes a high-G turn during an air show performance. The ACC F-16 East Demonstration Team is just one of many military and civilian aerobatic performers and flyovers scheduled to be at Offutt's 2007 Defenders of Freedom Open House and Air Show May 5-6. For more information, visit www.offuttairshow.com. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Phyllis Lithenal)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The show will go on, but officials here received word this morning that the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team must cancel their appearance at Offutt's 2007  "Defenders of Freedom" Open House and Air Show May 5 and 6.
"We're very sorry we can't make it to Offutt this year," said Navy Lt. Dan McShane, Blue Angels event coordinator, promising that Offutt would be a top priority while working their schedule for next season. 

The Blue Angels had earlier cancelled their performance in Vidalia, Ga., this weekend following the tragic death of opposing solo pilot Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis April 21 near the end of a performance in South Carolina. They had hoped to appear in the Offutt show, but announced their decision this morning. 

"Under the circumstances, we understand the need to cancel their appearance at our show," said Maj. Dennis Shook, Offutt's 2007 Air Show director. "We are fortunate to have 40 world-renowned aerial performers, 55 static aircraft displays, and more than 50 exhibitors that are sure to deliver the best open house and air show in the central states." 

Offutt's Open House and Air Show organizers have been working hard all week to secure another top-notch demonstration team to perform in place of the Blue Angels. 

"The Team Aeroshell precision flying group will move into the premier flying slot during the air show, taking the place of the Blue Angels," said Major Shook. 

"Out of respect for Blue Angel number six, we are adding a tribute to our show, which will include a missing man formation," said Alan Henley, Aeroshell's flight leader. 

Team Aeroshell, flying the World War II North American Advanced Trainer, better known as the AT-6 Texan, will perform maneuvers that include the bomb burst, the vertical rejoin, the avalanche and the breathtaking "switchblade." 

Other military aerial acts include the U.S. Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team and Air Combat Command's F-16 Fighting Falcon Demonstration Team East. 

"We have a world class lineup that I know people will be excited to see," Major Shook said. 

This year's open house also promises to highlight some of the great accomplishments in airpower and illustrate how technology has transformed the Air Force over its 60-year history, with flyovers ranging from the WWII-era P-40 Warhawk and P-51 Mustang to a modern B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and the Offutt aircraft parade, comprised of the RC-135, E-4 and EC-130 aircraft. 

Visitors will be able to see a piece of American history in the air when vintage aircraft including the always popular WWII Warbirds, the A-26 Invader and the B-25 Mitchell perform over the airfield. 

More than 60 modern and historic aircraft on static display will afford visitors a chance to see them "up close." 

In addition to military airplanes past and present, nationally recognized civilian acts like Chandy Clanton, a local talent from Lincoln in her Edge 540; John Klatt, in his Stadaucher S-300; Greg Poe, in his Edge 540; Jill Long, in her Pitts biplane; and Tim Weber, in his Extra 300S; will push the limits of their various airplanes. 

In between the aerobatic performances, spectators can check out the static aircraft and dozens of ground displays. 

"We've got a wide variety of static aircraft for people to see and tour, ranging from trainers to bombers and everything in between," Major Shook said. 

"The ground displays should also be a hit - especially with the kids," said Major Shook. "In addition to aircraft, children of all ages will have a new Family Fun Zone to keep them entertained." 

Activities in the Family Fun Zone include play areas, bouncy castles and rock climbing walls. 

"The bottom line is there's something for everyone," Major Shook said. "This year's show is a must see!" 

This year's Open House and Air Show coordinators have made special efforts to make the show more accessible for our handicapped or special needs guests - including nearby handicapped parking and seating for rest breaks. 

"We've directed everyone working the show to identify people who could use some assistance and make the call to get them a lift," said Maj. Eric Barton, Offutt's Air Show ground director. "Workers with golf carts will provide rides for people who cannot easily navigate the ramp on their own, or need assistance." 

For further information on handicapped accommodations, call the Public Affairs office at 294-3663. 

People can find more information, including schedules, directions, security considerations and frequently asked questions online at www.offuttairshow.com.