- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 13, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) — After more than four decades, the Van Nuys Airport has likely held its last air show.

Visitors to Sunday’s show were told the site used for the event would be redeveloped as a parking area for private planes and a Los Angeles Fire Department facility.

“The future doesn’t look good for air shows in general,” said Bettie Pappas, co-owner of a World War II DC-3 that drew a lot of attention from the crowd of about 65,000 Sunday. “Because of higher fuel costs and small airports closing down across the nation, there are fewer and fewer places we can take this plane to.”

Miss Pappas said her plane, which dropped paratroopers on D-Day, appeared at as many as 15 shows five years ago, but now is shown at perhaps one-third as many locations.

The 270-plus air shows scheduled across the United States this year are about half the number that were staged a decade ago, according to the International Council of Air Shows. In Florida, MacDill Air Force Base canceled its 2006 AirFest, citing security concerns and busy real-world operations. It drew 350,000 people last year and half a million in 2004.

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