All eyes will be on the soaring action in the sky this weekend during the Vectren Dayton Air Show.
Military jet demonstrations, aerobatic champions and historic aircraft are a sampling of the entertainment to be found at the premier air show that marks its 44th consecutive year of operation.
Shiela Wallace, media relations coordinator for the air show, said the event has been so successful because the region is the birthplace of aviation and the show has strong ties to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
“These are all things that scream this place loves aviation,” said Wallace.
This year’s event takes place June 23-24 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Dayton International Airport, 3600 Terminal Dr.
Here’s what you should know to have a great time:
1. CAN’T MISS AERIAL SHOWS
United States Navy Blue Angels
The Blue Angels, who have thrilled audiences for more than 70 years, will headline the Vectren Dayton Air Show this year.
The Blue Angels, who last appeared in Dayton in 2014, fly six F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets in formations that bring them as close as 18 inches apart.
The fastest speed during the performance is close to 700 MPH.
Fastest woman racer
Vicky Benzing, a pilot, aerobatic performer, skydiver and air racer will perform for the first time at the show.
She set the record as the “fastest woman racer” ever in the history of the Reno Air Races in Nevada and has made more than 1,200 parachute jumps.
Benzing will fly an action packed routine in a high-performance Extra 300S.
Sean D. Tucker’s farewell show
Sean D. Tucker and his 400 hp Oracle Challenger will return to the Vectren Dayton Air Show in 2018 for the last time. Tucker is retiring from solo flying but planning to form a formation aerobatic team for future performances.
TORA! TORA! TORA!
A living history lesson returns to the show this year. TORA! TORA! TORA! Will re-enact the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. Eight Japanese replica fighter/bomber aircraft and a display of fire, smoke and noise, simulate bombing runs.
The Redline Aerobatics Team will be a thrill to watch. Cincinnati pilots Ken Rieder and Jon Thocker built the planes, which fly inverted and formation maneuvers, in their garages.
2. MUST-SEE PLANES ON THE GROUND
Though planes will be soaring over head don’t forget much of the show is on the ground. Visitors will be able to view more than 50 aircraft on display ranging from WWII warbirds to modern military aircraft.
Among the ground displays will be the U.S. Air Force 5-52 Stratofortress, the C-17 Globemaster III, a U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet, the B-17 movie Memphis Belle and a Tuskegee Airman P-51 Mustang.
The sprawling Boeing B-52 Stratofortress will span the tarmac among the ground displays. The B-52 heavy bomber is one of the longest serving aircraft in the Air Force.
Commonly referred to as BUFF, which stands for “Big, Ugly Fat Fellow,” the bomber was last at the air show in 2010.
The Orbis International MD-10 Flying Eye Hospital — a state-of-the-art teaching facility with an operating room, classroom and recovery room — will be on the ground.
Spectators will be able to board the Flying Eye Hospital which travels the globe training people to fight blindness.
The DC-8 Samaritan’s Purse will make its first air show appearance ever this weekend.
The Samaritan’s Purse organization — led by Franklin Graham, the son of the late Billy Graham — takes the Douglas DC-8-72CF jetliner around the world to provide spiritual and physical aid.
3. THINGS TO DO JUST FOR KIDS
Need a respite for the kids? The Vectren Kid’s Hangar has a backyard gym for climbing, a sandbox, face painting and crafts. The getaway is free and occasionally Air Show performers drop by to sign autographs.
The hangar will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with food, beverage and restroom facilities nearby. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
4. WHAT TO EAT: CONCESSIONS
A variety of food concessions will be available as well as plenty of Coke and Budweiser products.
ATM’s are located on the show grounds.
5. WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
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 animals.
6. WHAT TO LEAVE AT HOME
Coolers are not permitted on the grounds. Neither are pets, bicycles, roller blades or scooters.
7. WHERE TO PARK AND HOW TO GET THERE
There’s plenty of onsite parking. Keep in mind it’s $10 per car and $20 for RVs, buses and large-size vehicles. Overnight parking is prohibited.
From I-75, use Exit 64 toward Northwoods Blvd. and follow signs for ticket type.
From I-70 use Exit 32, the Airport Access Road and follow signs for ticket type.
Drivers should follow signs posted along the show route as well as the directions conveyed by the police officers.
Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to avoid heavy traffic.
An alternate parking plan will be implemented if rain prior to the show prevents use of grass parking lots. If implemented, check the show website, social media and local newspaper, television and radio outlets for alternate parking plans.
If you’d like someone else to do the driving, a continuous express shuttle service will be provided by the Greater Dayton RTA. The shuttle is available from the U.S. Air Force Museum to the main gate of the air show for $3 per round trip. Hourly shuttle service will also be available in downtown Dayton from the Wright Stop Plaza. Regular RTA fare will apply.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: Vectren Dayton Air Show
WHERE: Dayton International Airport, Vandalia
HOURS: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. June 23-24, 2018
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 24, at 12 p.m. 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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Vectren Dayton Air Show