Interesting Notes About The 2013-2014 Schedules

The big airshow news of the day was of course the schedules coming out of ICAS in Las Vegas, one of the most anticipated days of the year, aside from the shows themselves of course. Each year there are some surprises hidden in the schedules and this year was no exception.

One of the biggest surprises was that the Cleveland National Airshow was left without a jet team for the first time since 2004. Traditionally the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds alternated appearing at the show, held on Labor Day weekend every year. This also leads to another of the surprises: in 2014, Cleveland will move from the traditional Labor Day weekend to the weekend after Labor Day. This was done in order to secure the Blue Angels (more details below).

The reason the USAF Thunderbirds won’t be able to attend Cleveland in 2013 is that they will be on a tour of Asia, visiting locales such as Guam, South Korea, and Japan. This will take them out of the North American airshow rotation from late August until early October.

As usual, several shows shifted from their traditional dates in order to land one of the jet teams. Thunder Over the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ moved forward from the expected August date to late June. Though the show does not currently appear on any team schedules, the new weekend is listed as ‘TBD’ on the Snowbirds schedule, prompting speculation that the team will add Atlantic City in the future.

Another show date change is the Rochester International Airshow in New York, which was expected to be in mid-July but will now take place on June 1-2 as that allowed the show to host the Thunderbirds.

One of the biggest date changes is Thunder Over Michigan, in Ypsilanti, MI. This show is usually almost exclusively Warbirds and vintage aircraft, though they have hosted the Blue Angels twice in recent years as well as the F-16 and F-18 single ship demos. Traditionally in early August, TOM will now be held June 15-16 and will feature not just an F-18 demo (still unclear which type) but also the Thunderbirds for the first time. This date change puts TOM on the same weekend as other warbird heavy shows Indianapolis and Hamilton, ON. Indy has the Blue Angels, and Hamilton has the Snowbirds along with a newly restored Mosquito, meaning many Midwest airshow fans will have to make a tough choice as to which to attend. Warbird purists will no doubt be unhappy with the modern jets in TOM’s lineup, but they are sure to bring in a large amount of money for the Yankee Air Museum, which runs the show.

Thunders change also affects the nearby Selfridge ANGB show, which would have been coming up in 2013 but will now be delayed until 2014 in order to secure the Blue Angels. The incoming Boss (Blue Angel #1) is from the Selfridge area, but with the Blues booking shows an extra year in advance, he was not able to arrange a hometown show in 2013. Selfridge will be on Labor Day weekend in 2014, and is the reason for the aforementioned Cleveland date change. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Selfridge will have a show on Labor Day itself.

One interesting inclusion on the Thunderbirds schedule is that of the famous EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI. Oshkosh appears on the schedule just on July 31st, the Wednesday of the week-long event. This is particularly interesting because the airspace is not large enough for the 1500’ aerobatic line that the team would require to perform, leading many to wonder what sort of appearance this will be. On a related note, the Milwaukee Airshow, about an hour and a half south of Oshkosh, will take place on the weekend of AirVenture, August 3-4. Milwaukee is on the Thunderbirds schedule, and speculation is that the team’s Oshkosh appearance will be a series of flybys en route to Milwaukee rather than a full performance. It is worth noting that the team should be able to perform a modified flat show within the confines of the aerobatic box, but unless the team plans on practicing there the day before, that would seem very unlikely.

Unfortunately, several airshows did cancel as well. Tyndall AFB announced the cancellation of its show several days ago, and the Southern Wisconsin AirFEST in Janesville, WI announced its cancellation last month despite plans to host the Snowbirds, leaving a now open weekend on their schedule. Ocean City, MD no longer appears on the Blue Angels schedule after originally securing the team for June 8-9. The show hasn’t announced a cancellation, and it may be just an accidental omission.

Some confusion remains as to the dates of certain shows, as they are listed differently on the Golden Knight and F-18 schedules as they are on the jet team schedules. Hopefully these dates, as well as the numerous TBD weekends on the Snowbirds schedule, get filled in soon.

What are your thoughts on the schedules? Are there any interesting sidenotes from your neck of the woods? Let us know by commenting here or on our Facebook page!

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