Winston-Salem Air Show director responds to canceled show in 2016

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- This is the time of year calls are usually being made to air show performers and sponsors, 10 months ahead of time.

This year, it’s time to call the show a no-go.

The 2016 Winston-Salem Air Show has been canceled due to an anticipated construction project that is expected to be underway next September when the show is traditionally underway.

The Smith-Reynolds Airport is anticipating a state grant to pay for $1.8 million in improvements to the air field’s ramp at the main terminal. The upgrades will redo a ramp at the main terminal.

Construction could begin next summer.

Air Show Director Steven Flippin is disappointed but also welcomes improvements at the airport that everyone can benefit from.

“I know a lot of fans and air show committee members and sponsors will be disappointed too, but overall it's good,” said Flippin.

Flippin said the show draws between 19,000 and 38,000 spectators every year. In the crowd, you can find visitors from as many as 30 states, Flippin said.

He said finding a temporary home for the air show defeats the purpose of using the small airfield where visitors can get much closer to the planes than they can at bigger airports.

“The tradition is there and that's the spot we always want to have the Winston-Salem Air Show,” said Flippin.

Flippin said financial issues forced the cancellation of the show in 2006 and 2007 but things have been going strong ever since and he doesn't want the public to think the canceled show has anything to do with a lack of support from sponsors, volunteers or the public.