Budget may cut military from Louisville air show

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Associated Press

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 5:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Federal spending cuts that are set to take effect Friday may mean no military jets will participate in the air show during this year's Thunder Over Louisville.

Wayne Hettinger, who produces the air show, told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/12b1nzL) that more civilian acts have been signed up to fill out the event on April 20.

During previous shows, Hettinger said Navy jet fighters such as the FA-18F "Super Hornet" and Air Force jets such as the A-10 "Warthog Tank Killer" have thrilled crowds.

Due to the impending budget cuts, U.S. military jet teams have been grounded.

"We saw this coming last July and started doubling and tripling up on civilian aircraft," Hettinger said.

He said if Congress resolves the budget impasse, military planes could be accommodated as long as he has notice of at least 24 hours.

Hettinger said as of this week there are seven civilian air show acts confirmed for the event with about 35 planes. He said some acts could perform more than once.

"If we lose the military, we will still have a full air show, from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.," shortly before the fireworks begin, he said.

Even if the show loses the participating of active military, he said it is possible that Kentucky Air Guard planes would be available.

However, he said it is impossible to predict whether military jets or National Guard planes would be available for the annual event.

"On a worst-case basis, we will start at 3 p.m. and do a civilian air show. And any military aircraft passing through, we will try to get them" at least to do a flyover, Hettinger said.

Promoters said Thunder Over Louisville attracts about 700,000 people along the Ohio River shoreline in Kentucky and Indiana making it among the largest annual events in the Southeast.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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