A series of air shows across the nation have been canceled due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, including one this weekend that was to feature a performance by the Thunderbirds.
Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas on Thursday afternoon said its Fiesta of Flight Air and Space Expo, which was scheduled for Saturday, is now off. That show was to include performances by the Thunderbirds, the Wings of Blue Jump Team, the A-10 Demo Team, and others.
“We do not have any COVID-19 cases identified,” Col. Lee Gentile, commander of the 47th Flying Training Wing at Laughlin, said in a statement posted on the base’s official Twitter account. “This decision to cancel is out of an abundance of caution.”
The annual air show at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, which was to include a performance by the Air Force’s F-35A Demonstration Team, was also called off. It was scheduled to begin Friday afternoon and run throughout Saturday, and would have featured the first public performance of its new pilot and commander, Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe.
The Yuma show also was scheduled to have a performance by an AV-8 Harrier team put together by Marine Attack Squadron 311 and based at MCAS Yuma.
A press release from the Yuma show team said both days are canceled for both the general public, and those who have purchased tickets. Those who paid for tickets will receive full refunds from the ticketing site starting March 16.
Air shows at March Air Reserve Base in California and MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, each of which were scheduled for March 28 and 29, have also been postponed until further notice.
In Laughlin’s release, Gentile said the base is actively working with local medical providers to monitor any changes in the community.
“The health and safety of our members, neighbors and community is always our priority,” Gentile said.
Large gatherings and public performances across the nation have been canceled or postponed, including March Madness, the NCAA’s men’s and women’s basketball tournaments; the NBA and NHL seasons; and the closure of Disneyland, as the nation seeks to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.