- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 15, 2014

After U.S. military spending cuts grounded the Blue Angels for most of last year, the “Rolling Stones” of the skies are getting their wings back to appear at air shows this year.

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstrative Squadron, the famous fleet of blue and gold airplanes, will kick off the 2014 air show season with a fly over at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California on Saturday. The show will be the first of 68 performances schedules in 35 locations through November 8, CNN reported.

The Blue Angels have been grounded since April 2013, which saved an estimated $28 million, reported NBC San Diego.

However, each air show draws huge crowds and the cancellations have cost millions for the tourism industry.

“The economic impact of the show for us more than $2 million,” said W.A. Buck Lee, president of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, the Daily Mail reported. “People are going to start cancelling their hotel rooms and will hurt businesses here.

In order to return the grounded aircraft to mission ready status, additional funds will be needed, according to Air Force Officials.

“Even a six-month stand down of units will have significant long-term, multi-year impacts on our operational readiness,” Air Combat Command spokesman Maj. Brandon Lingle told the Associated Press.

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