Navy's Blue Angels a target of sequestration: Show for high-flying aerial team on chopping block

SAN DIEGO - They are the Navy's premier flight demonstration team, but the Blue Angels, who are practicing for their upcoming season in El Centro, may not have a season.

"The direct impact if sequestration happens is that we will cancel all our performances from April 1 through September 30," said Lt. Katie Kelly, the public affairs officer for the team.

Friday is the deadline for automatic budget cuts totaling more than a trillion dollars.  

"The cuts will be gradual, but by April, San Diego will feel the fallout," said Tony Cherin, Ph.D., a professor of finance at San Diego State University.

Other than defense, Cherin said it could feel like holiday travel at airports every day.

"Cutting off FAA personnel, NTSB personnel, TSA personnel… those are the people who make the airports run," he said.  

The Navy is looking at stopping repairs to at least 10 ships which would total $219 million and putting off repairs to aircraft at North Island at a total of $83 million. To save $670 million, the Navy is also looking to cut back training and flight hours.

Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. said, "There are other programs that are wasteful and ineffective which should be cut before operational cuts are imposed."  

He mentioned the $170 million being spent on the development of bio-fuels.  

As far as the Blue Angels are concerned, the air show at MCAS Miramar will go on as planned in October. However, if the Blue Angels are idled for months, there may be more challenges.

"Unfortunately, it's not something we can start up in a day," said Kelly. "It takes FAA certification and a lot of effort to get the team operational."

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