04/23/07 — No official word yet on flight team's show here

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No official word yet on flight team's show here

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on April 23, 2007 1:46 PM

No decision has yet been made on whether the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, will take to the skies over Goldsboro and Wayne County May 12.

Public affairs officers from the squadron confirmed this morning that this weekend's scheduled performance in Vidalia, Ga., has been canceled and that an announcement is expected to be made soon regarding Seymour Johnson Air Force Base's Wings Over Wayne Airshow.

Local officials celebrated late last year when the Angels were announced as a headline act for the 2007 show.

Wayne County Chamber of Commerce executive director Steve Hicks said earlier this month the show was expected to take place in October, but was rescheduled for May to allow for a performance by the storied Navy squadron.

"Believe it or not, when the air show ended last year, we always start thinking about the next year to come," he said. "But we were thinking it was going to be in October. Then, right around Thanksgiving, we got the word the Blue Angels might be coming and the event might be in May."

Promotional billboards featuring the Angels in formation are already up in the region and close to 100,000 people were expected at Seymour Johnson for their performance.

Hicks declined to comment this morning on the potential fallout associated with a cancellation by the team.

"I haven't had a chance to talk with our folks, and I certainly haven't had a chance to talk to the base folks," he said. "Until I do those things, I won't be able to comment."

Last fall's performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the F-15E Strike Eagle demonstration teams drew a crowd of close to 70,000 to the flight line at Seymour Johnson -- and millions of dollars into the city and county coffers.

County officials expected even more revenue to be generated from an air show with a Blue Angels performance.