Can an air show exist without military precision show teams?
Not in Minnesota, apparently.
Mankato, Minn., which has been trying to schedule an air show every third year, has dropped plans for a show next year because it couldn’t attract a military flying unit, the Mankato Free Press says.
In 2015, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds were the main attraction in Mankato, but the attendance dropped 10 percent from 2012 when the Navy’s Blue Angels appeared. The show lost $20,000.
Of course, it’s also difficult to make money with air shows since people can often stand by the side of the road or in the backyard to watch them for nothing.
Officials apparently tried to get a military precision team for 2018, but they were unsuccessful. The Blue Angels chose air shows in Eau Claire, Wis., and Fargo, N.D., instead. Mankato promoters are hoping for a show in 2019.
There’s more to aviation than fighter jets, but people don’t seem as interested in looking up anymore unless there’s lots of noise, afterburners, and the appearance of danger.
Even the ginormous Oshkosh, Wis., air show, once known for celebrating general aviation and displays of aerobatics, has cast its lot with attracting the military teams. In July this year, for example, the Blue Angels made their first appearance at the country’s biggest air show. They also appeared at this year’s Duluth Air Show.
In 2018, the Duluth Air Show will feature the Thunderbirds.