Hill Air Force Base has cancelled its F-16 flights over Independence Day celebrations due to the sequestration’s deep budget cuts, officials announced Tuesday.
For more than 20 years, the Hill F-16s have flown over community parades along the Wasatch Front and the Stadium of Fire show at Brigham Young University’s LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, according to a news release.
Such flights by the Air Force and other armed forces have been cancelled since March 1 and through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
The Air Force has had to reduce flying hours by as much as 18 percent, or about 203,000 hours. The limited flying hours are used to directly support only combat readiness, the release said.
“It’s always a privilege to participate in these events and it’s disappointing to have to sit it out this year because of fiscal limitations,” said Col. Bryan Radliff, commander of the 419th Fighter Wing. “We place a high value on our strong ties to the community and these flyovers are traditionally our way of saying thank you.”
Jets attached to the 419th Air Force Reserve were to have flown over the parades in the morning, while the active duty 388th was set to fly over the Stadium of Fire in the evening.
“These flights were never an added expense to taxpayers. We counted them as training sorties,” said 419th spokeswoman Kari Tilton. “But the [Department of Defense] reduced routine and local training such as this.”
The communities losing flyovers are West Point, Murray, Riverton, Centerville, Gunnison, Richfield, Delta, Grantsville, Riverdale, North Ogden, Liberty, Huntsville, Morgan, Vernal, Park City, Kaysville, Layton, Clearfield and Farr West.