DAYTON — The 2017 Vectren Dayton Air Show thrilled onlookers on Saturday and Sunday as dazzling aerobatics and raw aviation power were on display in the skies above the Dayton International Airport.
The performances capped off another difficult weekend for the Air Show after an accident on Friday that prevented the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds from performing. The pilot of that aircraft was still at Miami Valley Hospital as of Sunday with non life-threatening injuries. His passenger, an aircraft maintainer, was released on Saturday.
Air Show officials said the show’s attendance of 44,000 was down aboout 30 percent from average. Parking changes due to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Cindy also hampered traffic while requiring those attending the show to park farther away in order to be in paved lots.
Last year’s show, which saw the Navy’s Blue Angels pull out due to a fatal crash just weeks before the Dayton Air Show, had attendance of 51,000.
This year’s incident is the latest in a string of blows to the Air Show in recent years. In 2013, the Thunderbirds were forced to cancel their appearance due to federal sequestration. There was also a fatal accident that killed two performers.
In 2015, attendance was held down due to heavy rains from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill.
Featured performers that flew in this year’s show included the first-ever appearance of the Air Force F-35 Lightning II, the Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet, the debut of the GEICO Skytypers, Redline Airshows, Aviaton Hall of Famer Sean D. Tucker, the Misty Blues Skydiving team, Rob Holland, a B-25 Doolittle Raid Commemoration, and more.
“The 2017 show lineup was simply awesome even with the loss of the Thunderbirds. We were pleased with the number of people that attended,” stated Michael Emoff, Chairman of the United States Air & Trade Show Board of Trustees producers of the event. “Our thanks to the dedicated spectators, sponsors and volunteers for their support of the show.”
Air craft on static display at this year’s show included the Air Force B-1B Lancer, the Navy P-8A Poseidon, the Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet, a C-17 Globemaster, a Navy EA-18G Growler, a C-130 Hercules, a Fed Ex Boeing 757, the oldest flying DC-3 Flagship Detroit, and many others.
The show was announced by veteran announcers Rob Reider and Hall of Famer Danny Clisham.
The 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show is scheduled for June 23-24. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels have included Dayton on its 2018 schedule according to the their website.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.