Thunderbirds officially out of Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach
Federal budget cuts have forced the Air Force to cancel performances by its Thunderbirds precision flying team for the rest of this year, including its scheduled stint on Long Island on Memorial Day weekend, officials said Tuesday.
"The Thunderbirds have notified us that they have canceled their season, so we will not be seeing them at the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach," said George Gorman Jr., deputy director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The Air Force had held out the possibility earlier this month that performances might resume after April 1, but Capt. Bryan Bouchard, an Air Force spokesman, said those performances had been scratched for the year.
The Navy also said that it had canceled the flying exhibitions planned by its precision flying team, the Blue Angels.
The Thunderbirds had more than 20 shows remaining on its schedule and the Blue Angels had more than 30, officials said.
The two armed services and other federal agencies have to absorb a combined $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts as part of a congressional "sequestration" deal signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 1.
The Air Force and Navy said they would re-evaluate their position at the end of the year. Promoters of the Jones Beach show said they hoped to have the Thunderbirds back for Memorial Day in 2014.