Dayton Air Show thrills fans: ‘Anything that flies is cool’

Some fans express frustration with traffic issues

Sunday’s final day of the 2022 CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show drew large crowds and high praise from loyal fans who took in the displays and watched the flying acts, despite lingering traffic problems for some getting to the show.

Air show spokesperson Shiela Wallace said total attendance for the weekend would not be available until a morning press conference today.

Gates opened at 9 a.m. and flying acts, including the Navy Blue Angels, completed their roughly 4-hour featured show late in the afternoon.

There from the start was Greg Schwer, of Sidney, who was accompanied by grandsons Riley and Carson Barrett, 14 and 12 years old, respectively.

“Came here this year for the Blue Angels,” said Schwer, noting he had been to the show at least 10 times before, including 2021. “That was a biggie for us, seeing them. It’s been a few years since they’ve been here.”

He said it was a love of aviation and the military that keeps him coming back for more.

“Anything that flies is cool,” said Schwer, a Marine who served from 1982 to 1986. “I could probably spend a day in Helicopter Alley only, but I’ve got to sacrifice and do the whole show.”

Traffic troubles

Traffic issues for some people who wanted to attend the show surfaced again Sunday after troubles Saturday.

“You need someone directing traffic on Northwoods Blvd.,” Stacey Underwood wrote on the show’s Facebook page just before noon. “You have the traffic off of highway 75N after they turn on Northwoods Blvd trying to get over 2 lanes to turn into general admission parking.”

But A.J. McCune, of Huntingburg, Indiana, wrote: “Got here at 7:45 and had no problems! Ready for a great show.”

Karen and Danny Webb, of Eaton, said they had about a half hour wait on Interstate 75 at the Northwoods Boulevard exit.’

“It was kind of a long wait to get into parking, also, but not too bad,” Danny Webb said.

Air Show officials referred questions about traffic outside the gates to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

A spokesperson for the patrol said problems developed because many people came at once and that issues were worse Saturday vs. Sunday.

The patrol then referred questions to Vandalia police. A spokesperson there said traffic issues were reported Sunday morning but had not heard of later problems.

‘I think it’s fantastic’

The Webbs, who placed their portable chairs in the shade of the massive U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, estimated they’ve been to the air show at least 20 times before Sunday.

“I’m a retired Air Force Reserve and I used to fly airplanes into the air show, so I just love to come back,” said Danny Webb, who flew C-141s for 24 years. “This is my first time back in the last couple of years.”

Karen Webb said this year’s show, like previous years, was “awesome” because “there’s always something in the sky to look at.”

A host of ground-based “static displays” kept countless attendees occupied with aircraft that included the Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, F-15 and the Army CH-47F.

For Robb Cady, of Columbus, and his son, Tyson Cady, the 2022 event was the first for both.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Robb Cady said. “He’s an airplane nut, so I think having a display like this and looking at all the different models is great. He’s just really getting into it now, and his brother’s a pilot.”

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Cady said they should have come both days “because there’s so much to look at.”

Snapping photos of the shows numerous planes, including the CH-53 Super Stallion, was Isaac Hargrove, of Westfield, Indiana, who said it was first time at the air show, tagging along with with a friend and her family.

“They go to a lot of different air shows, and me being a photographer, I love, like, just stuff in the air,” said Hargrove. “I’m a huge fan of the military and things like that, so that’s why I came out because I thought it would be really cool to actually experience it for myself.”

Sights and sounds delight

Lisa and David Thompson, who have attended the air show “a dozen or more” times, said they started coming to the event to look at the aerobatics when their children were young. Now that the children are adults, they come for new aircraft and “the sights and the sounds,” David Thompson said.

“You can see the sights on the TV, but you can’t experience the sounds, and that’s why you come to the air show,” he said. “Plus you can get up close and personal to some of these aircraft that maybe you only see in a picture.”

A.J. Streeter said he left his home in Cincinnati and made the hour-long drive with no traffic to secure a front-row spot at the show as close as possible to the runway, something he said he’s done every year for many years.

He said the military planes make it worth the drive and the hours spent out in the summer sun. Those who haven’t see the show should do so, Streeter said.

“It’s different every year,” he said. “There’s nothing ever the same.”

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Joan Nettleingham, of Medway, who came to the show with her 6-year-old grandson, said she had been at six Dayton Air Shows prior to this year’s installment.

She said the Blue Angels, the show’s headline act, stole the show with their new F/A-18 Super Hornets. Pilots can push the aircraft to up to 700 mph and fly as close as 18 inches apart.

“They make it look so easy, but you know it’s not. It’s just seamless and awesome to watch,” Nettleingham said.

First-time fans

Fairborn residents Joanne Ortiz, and her husband, Crician Hernandez, said Sunday marked their first time at the Dayton Air Show.

“We heard that this is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it’s very recognized across the state, and we just wanted to give it a try,” Hernandez said. “It’s awesome. It’s well-organized. There’s a very diverse fleet of aircraft.”

Ortiz, who said she is eight months pregnant, said it’s worth coming out to see the show for the experience.

“I love seeing the airplanes,” she said. “That’s one of my passions, so that’s why I’m here.”

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Theresa Weaver said the drive from Indiana was “worth every second” because of how “amazing” everything was, from the stationary planes to the exhibits to the feature flying show.

“Definitely would come back again and again and again,” Weaver said, adding that those who may be on the fence about attending the air show should definitely do so. “You’ll never, ever see anything like it.”

Several attendees and volunteers said they believed Saturday’s show saw more people in attendance than Sunday’s.

Staff Writer Thomas Gnau contributed to this report

About the Author