Cleveland | Air Show back but budget cuts still felt

CLEVELAND -- If advance ticket sales are any indication, people are grateful and excited to have the Cleveland National Air Show back after federal budget cuts grounded it last year.

Advance sales are up 50 percent over 2012, according to the show's Executive Director Chuck Newcomb.

"What makes us excited is Air Show fans are so excited," Newcomb said.

Cleveland's show and other air shows were mothballed for a year because the federal budget sequester cut funding for marquee flight teams, like the Blue Angels.

RELATED : Schedules/Attractions at the Cleveland National Air Show

The Blue Angels are the feature attraction in Cleveland this weekend, but ongoing budget cuts are keeping other military show-and-tell aircraft home and out of the show.

Newcomb said,"They still have not reinstated display airplanes at air shows...we have to say this is going to new day for air shows."

Newcomb predicts private companies and other exhibitors will fill the void to give Air Show fans plenty to see and do.

One new exhibitor this year is poised to make some history.

The Lorain County firm Dronewerx will make the first FAA-sanctioned demonstration of drones at an air show. Various models will fly showing off different kinds of surveillance uses.

"It will forever be known to have happened in Cleveland..This is a big deal...This is the most transformative technology of our lifetime," Dronewerx' Matt Mishak said.

Mishak heads a group trying to make Ohio a leader in drone job creation.

Other longtime exhibitors are glad to be back.

Steven Blevins allows visitors to sit inside the cockpit of the same plane that was once used by the Blue Angels and Golden Knights.

"Last year was a long vacation...A lot of people really got hurt," he said.

The show has drawn between 60,000 and 100,000 visitors annually, spending an estimated $7.1 million and 35 percent of the visitors are from outside Northeast Ohio.

Promoter Newcomb took a big financial hit and hopes for three days of great weather to let the skies be filled with excitement and make the comeback show a success.


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