Syracuse, N.Y. — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ performance in Syracuse next weekend has been canceled, but the 2016 Syracuse International Airshow will go on as scheduled, Syracuse officials said Friday.
Christina Callahan, executive director of the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority at Hancock International Airport, said the show on June 11 and 12 will pay tribute to Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, the Blue Angels pilot who was killed in a crash in Smyrna, Tenn., on Thursday.
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy,” Callahan said in a statement. “The loss of Captain Jeff Kuss, a hero who was doing what he loved, is devastating to those who knew him, to the Navy and our country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children, his family, and the Blue Angels.”
Callahan said the Blue Angels have confirmed they will not perform in Syracuse. Airport officials made the decision to go forward with the airshow after consulting with the Blue Angels, regulatory officials, performers and support staff, she said.
“The airshow community is a tight-knit group, and to cancel the airshow would be a disservice to the men and women who have worked tirelessly to bring their love of aviation to communities like Syracuse,” she said. “We hope our community will come out to the airport next weekend, enjoy the events and performances we have scheduled and, most importantly, honor the memory of Captain Kuss.”
Several other flying performances and numerous airplane displays are scheduled for the Syracuse show, the first at the airport since 2002.
Callahan said airport officials will release details next week about the tribute that is being planned for Kuss, who is survived by his wife, Christina, and two children.
The airport authority has sold 8,600 tickets to the show. Callahan said no refunds will be offered because the show is still on. Proceeds from the show will go to a scholarship fund for Kuss’ children, she said.
She said the authority is looking for other flying teams to add to the airshow’s schedule. The Blue Angels had been scheduled to perform at about 3 p.m. each day of the show.
Kuss, 32, of Durango, Colo., was killed shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday when his F/A-18 fighter jet crashed
during a practice session in Smyrna just outside Nashville. Officials
at Smyrna’s airport announced earlier today that they will go forward
with this weekend’s Great Tennessee Air Show.