Jul 15, 2013 8:48 PM by Kirsten Bennett
The US Air Force Thunderbirds and 16 Air Force squadrons will begin training flights this month after being grounded by budget cuts and sequestration since April.
While the Thunderbirds will resume training flights, they will not resume aerial demonstrations this year because they are "not show ready," according to an Air Force official.
The official said that it can take up to 6 months for some aircraft to be mission-ready, but the return of training flights could mean that "a limited number" of demonstrations could resume in early 2014.
Sixteen squadrons that were also grounded by budget cuts will resume training flights, as well, the official said, explaining that the goal is to get them back to full combat mission ready status by the end of the year or early next year.
This resumption of training flights will hopefully enable the pilots not to fall so far below proficiency levels that it will cost more money and take too long to get them back to ready status.
As for the Blue Angels, they are not show ready either, but they have been flying a little bit to maintain the very minimum level of proficiency. Their shows are still canceled, their status has not changed, and one US Navy official said they do not expect it to change for the rest of the fiscal year.
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