TRAVERSE CITY — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are “unsure” if they will perform at the 90th National Cherry Festival Air Show.
The Navy’s Flight Demonstration squadron is taking an “operational pause” after a Blue Angel pilot was killed in a crash during an air show practice in Tennessee. Cherry Festival officials still are waiting to hear whether the Blue Angels will return to Traverse City in time for festival performances scheduled for July 2 through 4.
“We’re still moving forward,” said Trevor Tkach, executive director of the National Cherry Festival. “We haven’t gotten any direct word and we’re proceeding as promised and hope to follow through.”
Air show officials continue to meet and plan for the shows, including various checks in preparation for the Blue Angels’ performance, he said.
A representative for the Blue Angels sent an email response to requests for a phone interview that said: “Due to recent events, we are unsure of the Traverse City air show.”
The email, sent by a member of the Blue Angels public affairs team, said the group is not accepting media queries and also could not be reached by phone.
The Blue Angels have canceled two upcoming performances, one each in Syracuse, New York and Dayton, Ohio, according to releases from their respective air show organizers. No information has been released regarding the Blue Angels’ performance at a Vero Beach, Florida, air show hasn’t been determined.
Tkach said previously that the Cherry Festival air show will go on if the Blue Angels cancel.
The Blue Angels are mourning the death of U.S. Marine Corps pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss, who crashed his F/A-18 Hornet after takeoff during practice for an air show in Smyrna, Tennessee, on June 2. Kuss’ body was flown Tuesday on Fat Albert, the team’s C-130 plane, to the Blue Angels’ base in Pensacola, Florida.
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