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Blue Angels back in the air

Blue Angels ‘still scheduled to attend’ Cherry Festival Air Show

TRAVERSE CITY — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are back in the air after an “operational pause” following the death of a pilot who crashed.The Blue Angels posted on their Facebook page Thursday that they were back in the skies and flew around the city of Pensacola, Florida, where they are based. The flight demonstration squadron canceled three air show performances after U.S. Marine Corps pilot Capt. Jeff Kuss died when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed during a practice show in Smyrna, Tennessee, on June 2.

A representative for the Blue Angels said Thursday in an email they were “still scheduled to attend” the Cherry Festival Air Show performances July 2-4 in Traverse City, and festival officials have stayed on track during the few weeks of uncertainty, said Cherry Festival Executive Director Trevor Tkach.

“We’ve been in constant communication regarding the operation of this year’s air show — they’ve never backed off with us,” he said. “The committee remains optimistic and they’re showing us signs they’re planning on being here.”

The Blue Angels canceled air show performances in Smyrna; Syracuse, New York; and Dayton, Ohio.

Tkach said previously that the Cherry Festival Air Show will go on if the Blue Angels cancel.

Private services were held for Kuss, who served as the No. 6 opposing solo for the team, last week and he was buried in his hometown of Durango, Colorado.

The Blue Angels celebrated their 70th anniversary on Wednesday.