Seafair jet team announced; no word on Blue Angels

Seafair jet team announced; no word on Blue Angels
The United States Navy Blue Angels perform, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, at the Seafair Airshow in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
SEATTLE - An aerobatic jet team has been booked for Seafair as organizers await further word from the Navy Blue Angels, who have already canceled shows in four cities because of forced budget cuts.

"Our top priority is to produce the best possible show for our fans," Seafair President and CEO Beth Knox said in a statement. "In spite of sequestration and a possible reduction in the Blue Angel's schedule, we wanted to ensure that a performance jet team is flying in the Boeing Air Show at Seafair Weekend."

The Patriots Jet Team, using L-39s, performed at Seafair in 2007 and 2008 and are known for formation flying and aerobatic maneuvers including the "Tall Slide," where their planes slide backward toward the ground. Instead of white smoke like the Blue Angels, the Patriots have red, white and blue smoke.

John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, praised Seafair for being "creative and forward-thinking during these uncertain times." Other Seafair air show acts this year include the Red Eagles and Lucas Oil Air Shows.
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The Blue Angels scheduled their Seafair appearance in December, and Seafair officials said they have not received word of any change.

The Blue Angels last missed Seafair in 1994 and '95 because the Federal Aviation Administration denied their performance waiver. The FAA complained the Angels flew too low over houses and spectator areas, and the Navy team refused to change their routine.

Before 1994, the Blue Angels F-18 jets hadn't missed a Seafair in 22 years and the FAA had always approved the same routines. The Angels first flew here in the 1950s, according to the P-I archives.

When the Blue Angels canceled in 1994, the eventual replacements were announced in May, and the Angels' cancellation wasn't made until June 1. Click here to read more about the recently history of the Blue Angels.