Blue Angels (copy)

The Blue Angels in flight.  Provided. 

Organizers of this year's Wings Over Myrtle Beach air show had hoped to make the event an annual one, but it has already been canceled for next year. 

Brenda Little, a spokeswoman for JLC Airshow Management, said Myrtle Beach had been an ideal location for the show. More than 100,000 people attended over two days this April, she said. 

But long-awaited work on the local airport's taxiway has scuttled the show for 2019, said Kirk Lovell, a spokesman for Myrtle Beach International Airport. 

The work was only recently funded through the Federal Aviation Administration. Phase one of the project will begin at the end of 2018 and is expected to last a year, Lovell said. 

When the 2018 show was announced, officials along the Grand Strand hailed it as an event that could help boost tourism during a normally slow spring week. It was also an event that worked well with Myrtle Beach's history: the town had an Air Force base until 1993, and used to be a regular home to air shows by the Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds. 

But now, the event that was scheduled for the beginning of May is not coming. 

While Myrtle Beach's local officials were supportive of the show this year, Little said, putting together an air show is a complicated process. It involves establishing an "aerial box" with the FAA where aircraft will fly, which sometimes requires closing streets on the ground so that there's nobody under that space, Little said. 

Aircraft often have to stage at a nearby facility, because local airports don't always have long enough runways. 

There's the issue of booking a top-tier demonstration team, like the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels. Both teams announce their schedules well in advance, Little said, so booking them is a challenge. 

Tragedy can also intervene in a planned show. Earlier this year, the Thunderbirds withdrew at the last minute from the Charleston Air & Space Expo. A team member had died about a month earlier in a training accident, and the group was not prepared to perform its six-jet demonstration again. 

The Palmetto State will have another option for an air show next year, however. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort will feature the Blue Angels on April 27 and 28. 

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Reach Chloe Johnson at 843-735-9985. Follow her on Twitter @_ChloeAJ.

Chloe Johnson covers the coastal environment and climate change for the Post and Courier. She's always looking for a good excuse to hop on a boat.

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