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brbrIn the Past, Blue Angels and Thunderbirds Have Alternated Each Year at the Air Show; Blue Angels Attended in 2012 and Will Not Be At the 2013 ShowbrbrSchumer Had Lobbied Through Letters and Personal Phone Calls for The Armed Forces to Bring Renowned Thunderbirds to 2013 Air Show at Jones BeachbrbrAir Show Will Be First Major Event Since Superstorm Sandy Hit Long Island and Will Bring Thousands to the Regionbrbr


U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today said that the United States Air Force will bring the Thunderbirds back to the 2013 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach over Memorial Day weekend.  This will be the Air Show's 10 th anniversary and the first major event since Superstorm Sandy seriously damaged the iconic New York State Park. With the squadron's notable absence at the 2011 Air Show, Schumer has led a campaign through both letters and phone calls to have the Thunderbirds return to Long Island for this annual tradition.


"Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come out to celebrate Memorial Day at the Air Show at Jones Beach," said Schumer. "The Air Show is one of the great events on Long Island and, now more than ever, the Thunderbirds needed to be a part of this celebration. It is especially important that the Thunderbirds appear this year because of the serious impact Superstorm Sandy had on the park, and I know that having them at the 2013 Air Show will lift the spirits of everyone who attends. "


Historic Jones Beach State Park is the most popular and heavily visited beach on the east coast.  Each year, approximately 6 million people visit the park.  Built in the 1920s, under the Robert Moses administration, the park contains an outdoor theater, a two mile boardwalk and iconic art deco bathhouses and structures.      


Sandy caused substantial damage to Jones Beach.  Many of the beach boardwalks were heaved upward, the beach at Field 6 eroded to the boardwalk, and several buildings sustained massive flooding.  Jones Beach Theater sustained flooding half way up the main orchestra section and portions of the theater were severely damaged.


Every Memorial Day weekend, Long Island's Jones Beach hosts the Bethpage Air Show, attracting over 350,000 people and generating a large revenue stream for Long Island. From 2004 until 2010, the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels have alternated as the show's main attraction. The 2012 Air Show was headlined by the Blue Angels and therefore, the team will not be attending the 2013 Air Show.


In 2011, the Thunderbirds missed the Air Show because of an air show in Turkey. That year, with neither the Thunderbirds nor the Blue Angels present, the event saw a dramatic drop in weekend attendance from 357,000 in 2010 to 251,000. The 2012 show included both the Blue Angels and World War IIera bombers, leading to a rebound in attendance from the previous year to 384,000.


Schumer had called on the United States Air Force to have the Thunderbirds headline the 2013 Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach. Schumer explained that because the Blue Angels will not be attending, the Thunderbirds should attend in order to attract a large crowd. Schumer pointed to Superstorm Sandy and noted that Long Island is in need of extra revenue.


A copy of Schumer's original letter can be found below:


Dear Secretary Donley,

I am writing to request that the United States Air Force Thunderbirds participate in the 10 th anniversary 2013 Jones Beach Air Show in New York in 2013. Every year thousands of people gather to watch the annual Jones Beach Air Show, featuring demonstrations of aircraft both past and present. 


As stated, the Jones Beach Air Show will celebrate its 10 thAnniversary and, as a matter of fact, we believe residents of the New York Metropolitan and Long Island areas will appreciate and enjoy the Air Show more than ever. With over 350,000 people expected to attend, many of which have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, this would be a wonderful opportunity to perform for thousands of families whose spirits were left devastated by the devastation of the storm.


It would be an honor to have the USAF Thunderbirds participates in the 10 th anniversary show at the 2013 Jones Beach Air Show. Every year, the Thunderbirds put together spectacular aircraft performances for the public, demonstrating the precision, flight skills, and aerial capabilities of members of our nation's Air Force. This will be the first major event since the region experienced the damage and suffering from Hurricane Sandy. Therefore, the Air Show will lift the community's spirit and be a great start of the summer season.


I look forward to you strongly considering this request. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.



Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator