PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - If you're lucky, you've had a chance to see the Blue Angels soar above the crowds during one of their air shows.
If you're even luckier, you've been chosen to get to ride in a Blue Angel jet yourself.
With cuts already grounding the Blues from air shows through the month of April, however, the idea that the team could sit out the year is a real possibility.
It's unlucky news for many area small businesses.
"If they cancel the air show season, that's 80 percent of our sales which would really hurt us. We still do a lot of corporate work but it would mean a few people would be laid off because we don't have the air shows to go to," said Vice President of Airwave Incorporated TerryHynds.
Airware Incorporated produces and distributes much of the Blue Angel related merchandise.
He said the company also regularly attends the Blues' shows, selling merchandise from tents.
Along with Blues merchandise like clothes, Hynds also carries stuff like videos and toy models.
He said more than a $100,000 worth will sit in the warehouse if the Blues shows don't happen.
Hynds said Airware Inc. donates many of these items to the Boy Scouts and local churches to sell at the air shows.
"We buy our toys from a business in Vermont. We also do our screen printing from a company here in Pensacola, so their business with us will drop considerably. It's just a domino effect of what's going to happen if the air shows don't happen," Hynds said.
Airware Inc. has already lost money from cuts to the Air Force Thunderbirds, whose entire schedule was cut.
The possibility of the loss of the Blue Angels is also personal for Hynds, who spent three years in their supply department during the 1980s.
"It hurts very much. The government is going to save millions of dollars and I agree that our economy is toast right now. They need to save money, said Hynds. "But the little amount they'll save will amount to millions lost in economies. So I think we need to find another way to save money."
According to reports, the air shows typically bring in between $750 and $875 million a year to the community.
Officials said if the shows are canceled, they're planning to try and pay for the Blues to practice over Pensacola Beach
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