Nantucket Residents Must Leave Homes And Businesses In The Name
Of Airshow Security
When the Navy's Blue Angels pay a call on the Nantucket Air Show
next weekend, a lot of people will stop and watch one of the most
incredible aerial demonstration teams in the world.
And a few might be shaking their fists.
The FAA and the Navy have declared a slice of the island's south
shore as a "sterile zone," according to the Cape Cod Inquirer &
Mirror. In an area about a half-mile wide by a
mile-and-three-quarters long, everybody has to leave or the show
will not go on.
Eight residences and four business that surround the airport
have been ordered evacuated during the air show for security
reasons. Only show workers and attendees will be allowed.
It's the second time this summer that security
concerns have overshadowed an air show in the US. The
Cleveland National Air Show, a 40-year Labor Day tradition, was
forced to curtail its first night of performances because the
Indians were playing baseball at nearby Jacobs Field.
Back on Nantucket, air show organizers offered displaced
residents free VIP passes.
"I love the Blue Angels, but I was disappointed to have to leave
my house because I have the perfect view," said airport neighbor
Nancy Nelson. "At first I said, 'You can't make me leave,' but I
got over that. Once I understood that they needed that window
around the airport, it made sense to me."
Airport Manager Al Peterson told the paper that the residences
and businesses would be blocked off for about ten hours over four
days -- two for practice, two for show.
Peterson says that's the attitude most of the evictees are
taking. "Everyone's been very cooperative," he told the paper. "To
quote the FAA, during aerial demonstrations that include high-speed
demanding maneuvers, to ensure safety, the FAA requires a sterile
Business owners affected by the order to evacuate were equally
willing to cooperate for a chance to see the Blue Angels.
"Let's put it this way, how often is this going to happen?" said
Victor Petkauskos, the owner of Victor Paving, in an interview with
the Inquiror & Mirror. "If it's an inconvenience for a few
hours, hey, whatever. We can work around it. This is going to be a
community thing so a little inconvenience is not a big deal."
"We'll work around it. They gave us plenty of notice," said
Linda Yates, the secretary of Yates Gas. "It doesn't make a
difference for us. We'll cooperate."
The feds have also asked local police to clear a segment of the
beach that falls in the sterile zone, as well as secure the air
"It's kind of an overwhelming thing," Nantucket police Lt. Jerry
Adams told the paper. "We think we'll have between 5,000 and 10,000
(spectators) per day. We'll make sure everyone gets to their
parking OK, and provide perimeter security along with supplemental
law enforcement including the state police and the Environmental
Ironically, the only objections to the Blue Angels' performance
at Nantucket is Cape Air, which provides scheduled passenger
service to the airport.
"We love aviation, that's why we're in the business, and we know
that the Blue Angels will be a fabulous show, but the closings will
have an incredible impact on our airline," Cape Air spokeswoman
Michelle Haynes told the Inquirer & Mirror. "Maybe everyone is
so excited about it they won't mind being delayed, but right now we
have five weddings that we're flying that are booked and those
people are leaving on Sunday. Logistically, we're still trying to
figure out how to do it, but we're just concerned for our
passengers, especially those with connecting flights."