Booking Problem Cancels Air Show at Point Mugu

Times Staff Writer

The Point Mugu Air Show, where a crash last year led to the deaths of two military aviators, will not be held next month because organizers were unable to book a precision jet team, officials said Thursday.

Although the annual event north of Malibu is usually held in mid-April, the skies over Oxnard and Port Hueneme will be quiet this year for the first time in nearly four decades, said Teri Reid, a spokeswoman for Naval Base Ventura County.

Reid said the show might have been canceled anyway because of the war in Iraq.

Organizers' lack of success in landing either the Air Force Thunderbirds or the Navy Blue Angels was unrelated to the crash of a QF-4 Phantom, Reid said. The Vietnam-era jet crashed into a marsh during a low-flying formation as thousands of spectators watched. The pilot and his navigator died after ejecting out of the jet. Navy investigators concluded that pilot error caused the accident.

The cancellation of this year's event had more to do with scheduling conflicts for the popular aerobatic teams, which thrill air show crowds with their precision maneuvers.

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