The summer of 2018 will bring the Blue Angels, the navy’s flight exhibition team, to Terre Haute Regional Airport.
The Blue Angels two-year schedule, released in December, includes a show Aug. 18 and 19, 2018, in Terre Haute.
Jeff Hauser, executive director at Terre Haute Regional Airport, said the air show will be a sponsored event, rather than part of the airport’s budget as in past shows.
“This is an effort though community leaders. We still have a lot of notes from the past several air shows and we will soon start to ask for title sponsors. We have time to start on logistics” as the show will be held in 2018, Hauser said.
“It will be fun,” said Hauser, adding the exact times for the show are not yet determined, but will likely be based around flight times selected by the Blue Angels.
Rick Burger of Duke Energy is heading the community committee for the air show.
“Right now it is a small group, about a dozen members, but it will become much larger,” Burger said. “I am excited as this will be a great community/family event. It is really exciting to get the Blue Angels, which is a premiere jet team.”
Burger called the U.S. Navy flight squadron the “foundation” for the air show, upon which the committee can attract other air show participants. “Even though this is two years out, we are starting now. We want to bring in other war [era] airplanes to make this an event of history and education. The 181st [Intelligence Wing] is part of our committee,” Burger said.
Committee members, Burger said, have spoken to at least eight corporations that expressed interest in sponsoring the air show. Burger said title sponsorships can split financial support by paying in 2017 and 2018. “If we have a $10,000 or $20,000 sponsorship, a company can give half this year and half next year. This is something than can be a great opportunity to thank employees, by providing employees with a ticket to the show. That is what we plan to do at Duke Energy,” Burger said.
“We don’t want this just to be a local event, but a statewide event where people remember Terre Haute put on a premiere air show,” Burger said. Any company seeking to participate as a sponsor can contact Burger via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2002, the first Terre Haute Air Show featured the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, attracting 50,000 people to the air show. In 2003, the show attracted 35,000 and in 2004, it dropped to 12,000, due to a very rainy weekend. The show rebounded in 2005 with 48,000 spectators and more than 30,000 in attendance in 2006.
“I think it can be great,” said David Patterson, executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I always thought it was a great event and I think this will be a wonderful event in 2018. Having an internationally known act like the Blue Angels will be a wonderful event for the community. I am looking forward to being a part of that.”
The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 63 demonstrations at 33 locations in 2017 and 63 demonstrations at 33 locations in 2018, including Terre Haute. The Blue Angels fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.