Budget cuts ground Blue Angels' 2013 season

Pilots will continue to train in F/A 18 fighter jets

Headline Goes Here CNN Image

PENSACOLA NAVAL AIR STATION, Fla. - The U.S. Navy has canceled the remainder of the elite Blue Angels demonstration team's 2013 season because of federal cuts.

The commander of Naval air forces announced the decision on Tuesday.

The federal budget cuts occurred because of the "sequestration" portion of an August 2011 agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.

The Blue Angels have performed at air shows around the world for more than 60 years. The fighter pilots selected to serve a two-year tour with the team are among the world's best and are often graduates of the Navy's famed Top Gun air tactics school.

A spokesman for the Navy said team members would be allowed to fly minimal hours to maintain flight proficiency in the F/A 18 fighter jets, but the six-jet squadron would discontinue group practices for the remainder of the season.

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday released the following statement about the cancellation:

"The cancellation of the 2013 Blue Angels Air Show is a major blow to families and jobs in Pensacola and the nation. Families come from everywhere to enjoy the show and watch America's military might on display. These visitors fill area hotels, they eat at our restaurants and enjoy our beaches. The President missed a real opportunity to lead and help Florida families get back to work by making government more efficient and reducing spending in ways that make sense. In Florida, we continue to work to grow jobs for Florida families. Just last week, I was proud to be in Pensacola to announce that Navy Federal Credit Union will create more than 1,500 jobs for families in Northwest Florida – our largest economic announcement to date. In Florida, our plan to grow the economy is working, and we encourage Washington to follow our lead."

Watch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.

Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.