Sequester Costs Pregame Fly Overs? Federal Budget Cuts Risk Sports Tradition

on February 28 2013 3:07 PM

The Blue Angels, the elite U.S. Navy flight unit, has flown over dozens of NFL and college football games over the years, but now that tradition may be in jeopardy.

The impending federal budget cutbacks, sequester or sequestration, will cut $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, and one of them could affect flyovers of all types during such seminal events as NASCAR races, according to a report by USA Today Sports.

The last of the scheduled fly overs will be at NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10 by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

"The Thunderbirds are expected to stand down effective April 1. (Las Vegas) is pretty much going to be, I think, the last flyover you'll see for a while from us," Wendy Varhegyi, chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, said to USA TODAY.

Varhegyi reportedly said 1,000 flyovers take place each year, and while they are relatively simple training exercises, the budget is supposed to scale back training hours.

Sequestration requires across the board budget trimming in numerous government agencies and departments, and according to the National Journal, could cost upwards of 750,000 jobs by year’s end.

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