Flashes of light and thunderous booms can mean one of two things this time of year in southwest Ohio: either a summer thunderstorm or the Vectren Dayton Air Show. This year’s event takes place June 24-25 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Dayton International Airport, 3600 Terminal Dr.
“It’s going to be an exciting experience for the entire family,” said Sheila Wallace, media chairperson for the air show. “There is some type of act to appeal to people of all ages.”
The annual event consistently draws thousands upon thousands of spectators, and there’s a lot to see and do. Here’s what to know and how to make the most of your experience.
1.) AERIAL HIGHLIGHTS
This year’s headline act the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have canceled their performance Saturday following a crash Friday on the air show grounds.
They are still planning to perform Sunday.
Here’s a look at other acts still scheduled to perform all weekend:
America’s newest fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, will be flying in the feature show as a Heritage Flight with the P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” for the first time ever. The Lightning II is a 5th generation fighter that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the Navy’s premier strike fighter. The Super Hornet is a more powerful version of the F-18 Hornet, which is the aircraft flown by the Blue Angels.
Two B-25’s will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the famous Doolittle Tokyo Raid. The show commemoration will feature both a flight and ground display of the B-25’s “Champaign Gal” and “Axis Nightmare” complete with pyrotechnics; a fitting tribute to the brave men that flew this historic mission.
Civilian acts include the Redline Airshows, Sean D. Tucker, the Misty Blues All Woman Skydiving Team, Rob Holland Ultimate Airshows, and the Suzuki Extra 330SC.
Of course, when the Wright B Flyer takes to the sky, the crowd will erupt in cheers as it honors Dayton’s most famous brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, who brought flight to the world.
2.) PLANES ON THE GROUND
It’s difficult to miss what’s taking place in the sky, but that’s only part of the air show experience. Some of the treasures never leave the ground.
“We have great static displays,” Wallace said.
Planes on display include the U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer, the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon, the U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet, the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, and the U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk.
Plus, spectators can climb onboard an FedEx 757 and see the oldest flying DC-3, Flagship Detroit on display.
3.) JUST FOR KIDS
“The kids hangar is a great outlet for kids, especially little ones,” Wallace said.
In the Vectren Kid's Hangar, children can enjoy free face painting, giant sandboxes and hands-on crafts. The air show is a family-friendly event, and to help spark interest in aviation, the National Aviation Heritage Area is sponsoring Aerospace Adventures, with interactive, hands-on activities and experiments for ages 6-16.
“There is a huge assortment of vendors,” Wallace said. “We’ll have something there for every taste in food.”
Coke is one of the event sponsors, so there will be plenty of Coke products. Budweiser will sell beer products. PRO TIP: Concession purchases are cash only. If you need more cash, ATMS will be on site.
5.) WHAT TO BRING
Being on the hot tarmac all day means spectators need to come prepared. Bring sunglasses, hats and sunscreen, and remember to protect children’s skin as well. Consider wearing light-weight, light-colored long-sleeve tops and comfortable shoes. It’s smart to bring unopened bottled water, which is allowed.
General admission ticket holders can bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. Those with Blue Sky Chalet/Pavilion tickets don’t need to bring their own lawn chairs. To enjoy the aerial performances, pack a pair of binoculars.
Other items allowed inside the gate: regular-size umbrellas (but not the large, backyard kind), strollers and wagons, cameras (your camera bags will be checked at the gate), mobility scooters for the disabled (rentals are available, call 567-674-6185 to reserve), wheelchairs and service eye dogs.
6. WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME
Coolers are not permitted on the grounds. Neither are pets, bicycles, rollerblades or scooters.
7. WHERE TO PARK
On-site parking is available: cash only, $10 per car, and $20 for RVs, buses and large vehicles. Motor homes, RVs and motorcycles will be directed to special parking areas.
How to get there: From I-75, take Exit 64, Northwoods Blvd. From I-70, take Exit 32, Airport Access Road. Shuttles will also run from the U.S. Air Force Museum and the Wright Stop Plaza in downtown Dayton to the gate for $3 round trip. Shuttle service is available between 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
“The RTA is a wonderful way to get there,” Wallace said.
The best time to arrive? “I would say early," Wallace said. "The gates open at 9 a.m."
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Vectren Dayton Air Show
WHERE: Dayton International Airport, Vandalia
HOURS: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. June 24-25
TICKETS: General admission tickets are available at area Kroger stores and at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Advance online sales are available through Sunday, June 25th at 12 PM ET. All ticket sales are final, no refunds, no rain checks. Click here to view the assortment of ticket options, or call 888-695-0888. Tickets available at the gate are cash only.