Reporting Alex DeMetrick
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A way too quiet sky over Annapolis. Jet engines should be screaming, but the sequester has grounded the Blue Angels annual appearance.
Alex DeMetrick explains what it’s saving the Navy and costing the town.
The hats will still fly at Friday’s graduation, but not the Blue Angels. That flyover has been grounded by the sequester cuts, as well was Wednesday’s traditional air show over the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
“I’m sorry it’s not happening,” said one Annapolis man.
“Naval tradition that gets sacrificed, it makes a difference to the community, for sure,” said Courtney Charest, another Annapolis resident.
The loss of the Blue Angels also means a financial loss for some Annapolis businesses.
“Normally you’ll see families from the Naval Academy come down the weekend prior to graduation. This year, we’re noticing more families are not coming in until mid-week. Some aren’t coming in until Thursday, so it’s definitely had a big financial impact on businesses downtown,” said Big Cheese Market owner Bob Schwartzberg.
The defense budget stands at $500 billion. Grounding the Blue Angels will save $28 million and allow the team just 11 hours a month in flight time.
To get back to their optimal level, the team would have to now practice for ten weeks, two or three times a day.
That’s not going to happen.
“Our home is only 25 miles from their base in Pensacola, so we get to see them practice here and there,” said Jay Gunn, a graduate’s uncle.
“It was a disappointment they were not going to fly,” said Gunn.
No date for the Blue Angels to return to the air has been set.