Annual Air Show Returns to Dayton July 7 & 8
By Tim Walker
It’s summertime in the Miami Valley, and to the area’s many aviation-loving residents and visitors, that can only mean one thing – that the time for the Vectren Dayton Air Show, presented by Kroger and one of the Miami Valley’s largest and most popular annual events, has returned. On the weekend of July 7 and 8, the Dayton International Airport will be hosting the annual air show once again, and it’s the place to be if you’re a fan of aircraft, pilots, death-defying aerial performances, or if you’re just curious about our area’s strong link to the history of aviation.
“Even though this is our 38th show, there are still new things out here,” said Brenda Kerfoot, the General Manager of the Vectren Dayton Air Show. “So, even if you’ve gone to every single show, there are still some things that you haven’t seen before.”
This year’s show will feature more than 100 static aircraft ground displays, from large to small, including fighters, warbirds and private aircraft of all shapes and sizes. Fans will be able to get up-close views of dozens of aircraft, including two F-15E Eagles, two F-16 Fighting Falcons, a UH-60 Blackhawk, and a B-17 Flying Fortress. Pilots from all branches of our armed services will also be on hand to answer questions about the aircraft and their experiences while flying them.
This year’s exciting live-flight demonstrations will include the headliners, the US Navy Blue Angels, as well as the Sea Harrier, a vertical take-off and landing jet aircraft; “TORA TORA TORA,” an emotional reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, complete with pyrotechnics; Michael Goulian, an acclaimed, high-energy acrobatic performer; the Misty Blues, the world’s only all-female skydiving team; the P-51 Quicksilver, a beautifully restored WWII-era fighter; and a Vietnam-era jet fighter, the A4-B Skyhawk.
Always a crowd favorite, the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, will be the show’s headliner and main attraction and will be performing on both days of the show, but this year’s team is a bit different — it has a local connection. “Blue Angel #2, the right wing pilot, Lieutenant John Hiltz, is a 1998 graduate of Covington Catholic High School,” said Kerfoot. “So, this literally is his homecoming show. It’s quite a thrill, as you can imagine, for his family and friends to see him fly. And for us, as well.”
“Another thing,” she continued, “That’s maybe a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at this year’s show is that we’ll have Major Theodore ‘Dutch’ Van Kirk, the sole surviving member of the Enola Gay crew. He was the navigator, and this is his first appearance at our show.”
On August 6, 1945, the Enola Gay was the aircraft which dropped “Little Boy,” the first atomic bomb ever used in wartime, on Hiroshima, Japan. In doing so, the Enola Gay and crew helped to end the Second World War, as well as usher in the Atomic Age. Vectren Dayton Air Show visitors will be able to meet Major Van Kirk at the Humana Salute to Veterans Center, along with viewing the B-17 “Yankee Lady.”
The show takes place rain or shine. All performances can take place in inclement weather, and in its 38-year history the air show has never been cancelled due to weather.
“I would say come out no matter what,” said Kerfoot. “But we expect blue skies and beautiful weather!”
[The Vectren Dayton Air Show will be presented at the Dayton International Airport on Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8. Gates are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and the main show starts at 11a.m. General Admission tickets remain unchanged from 2011, and are $20 per adult and $15 for seniors and children (age 6-11) if purchased at the gate or at www.daytonairshow.com. Dayton and Cincinnati-area Kroger stores have advance tickets on sale now for $17 for adults and $12 for seniors and children. Advance tickets may also be purchased at the U.S. Air Force Museum for $18 for adults and $13 for children. Tickets are good for admission to one day of the show, and all ticket sales are final -- no refunds or rain checks. Family four-packs and other special passes are available at the show’s website - go to www.daytonairshow.com for a show schedule and for more information.]
Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com