WASHINGTON — Facing the prospect of dramatic budget cuts, the U.S. military may skip the Paris air show this year for the first time, Air Force officers said Friday.
The move is among an array of cost-saving measures the Air Force has drawn up in case Congress fails to clinch a budget deal by March 1.
Without an agreement in Congress to avert automatic spending cuts, military funding would be slashed by roughly $50 billion from March to the end of September, when the current fiscal year ends.
For the Air Force, the cuts would amount to about $12.4 billion, according to Jamie Morin, acting undersecretary of the Air Force.
If the automatic cuts go into effect, the Air Force plans to cancel a third of its flight hours through September, furlough 180,000 civilian employees and scrap deployment plans for some squadrons, among other steps, officials said.
In addition, “aircraft participation in airshows could be cancelled,” said Tonya Racasner, spokeswoman for the Air Force.
The Pentagon has always made a point of sending warplanes to major air shows, including the Paris showcase at Le Bourget and the Royal International Air Tatoo in Britain.
The technical team was up early to prepare the aircraft and Markus Scherdel, the test pilot, was at Solar Impulse HQ by 08:00 and raring to go.
At 10:00 the propellors started turning and the plane was airbourne in less than 10 second. The public was stunned. There was thunderous applause. After a week of enjoying fabulous displays, sometimes spectacular, but always noisy and polluting, Solar Impulse suddenly offered an astonishing alternative solution. HB-SIA soared above their heads slowly for twenty minutes, majesticly and silently.
The plane was the brainchild of two aviators — Bertrand Piccard, who made history with the world’s first round-the-world hot air balloon flight in 1999, and Andre Borschberg.
Next on the agenda is Solar Impulse Mark II, a modified version of the original plane which will have a bigger cabin — a necessity for that round-the-world flight in 2012.
Source and photo: Solar Impulse
Photo Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg: Rob Vogelaar, ZAPP
Solar Impulse, has arrived in Le Bourget at its second
attempt on Tuesday after three days’ delay, ready for a debut at the biennial
International Paris Air Show. The 1.6-ton solar-powered plane was expected to
land in Paris on Saturday but technical problems and bad weather forced it to
turn back to Brussels.
Piloted by Solar Impulse’s co-founder and chief executive André Borschberg it
took off from the military section of Brussels airport at 5.10am on Tuesday,
taking advantage of a small weather window between rain fronts and landed 14
minutes ahead of schedule at Bourget airport in Paris at 9.16pm. The aircraft
had to circle for several hours before landing because of heavy air traffic
around Charles de Gaulle airport.
At the Paris Air Show it will fly each morning from 20 June.
Source and photo: Solar Impulse
Earlier today we were able to get into the official website of the Paris Air Show at: http://www.paris-air-show.com/en
There all types of visitors should be able to find answers to all their specific questions about visiting the Paris Air Show 2011.
At this time the mentioned official website of the paris air show is offline, we are trying to contact GIFAS and get more information how to attend the show as members of the press, trade- or regular visitor.
As soon as we know where and how to contact GIFAS for further questions we will publish that here.