Dayton Air Show’s 50th anniversary weekend ready for heat, soaring Blue Angels

‘A big picnic with a lot of smoke and noise’ opens Saturday to expected crowds and heat

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Dayton’s biggest summer party is ready to launch, with aerial performers and ground displays arriving daily at Dayton International Airport for this weekend’s 50th anniversary CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron arrived Wednesday afternoon, and members said Thursday they’re ready to perform as the air show’s headline act both Saturday and Sunday.

Two members of the squadron with Dayton-area ties are happy to be part of the milestone event, which begins Saturday morning when show gates open at the airport at 9 a.m.

“It’s a wonderful experience to be here with my family and friends and to get to show them what we do as the Blue Angels, to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the team,” said Lt. Junior Grade Mara Mason, a supply officer for the Blue Angels, who grew up in Tipp City. (Her rank is equivalent to an Air Force first lieutenant.)

“It’s good to be back,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan James, a Xenia native and a mechanic for the squadron. “I haven’t been here since 2022, so it’s always good to come home and see family and friends.”

Performances by either the Blue Angels or the Air Force Thunderbirds have always been the highlight of air show days.

This will be Blue Angels Commander Alexander Armatas’ first time flying over Dayton.

“It’s an honor to be anywhere we get to travel,” Armatas said. “We go to 32 show sites a year. Every single one of them is different and special for different reasons. Dayton is no exception, being here for the 50th anniversary of the show, being here at the birthplace of aviation, a lot of history is here in Dayton.

“We’re excited to be a little piece of that,” he added.

Bryan Regan, who flies World War II T-6 trainer planes with the Titans aerobatic team, is looking forward to the show as well.

“It’s really a community event,” Regan said. “It’s like a big picnic with a lot of smoke and noise and excitement, you know? You’ve got us making noise and flying close together. You’ve got individual acts that are doing unbelievable maneuvers, flying close to the ground. And of course, you have the jets ... that really fill up the sky.”

It’s going to be hot this weekend. On Thursday, the National Weather Service was calling for sunny conditions and a high on Saturday of 98 degrees. On Sunday, the forecast called for a chance of showers and thunderstorms, with an expected high of 93 degrees.

Armatas said Blue Angels pilots and crew members will be doing what everyone else should be doing — staying hydrated and taking care of themselves.

“I hope everyone can make it out to the air show,” the commander said. “Drink a lot of water; it’s going to be warm.”

CenterPoint Energy Dayton Air Show

How to go

When: Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Air show organizers ask visitors to arrive early. Expect large crowds and heavy traffic.

Tickets: Go to There is no call booth. Tickets include general admission parking.

Where: East side of Dayton International Airport: For general admission parking, take the Northwoods Boulevard exit from Interstate 75 and follow the signs.

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