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U.S. Navy Blue Angels headline 2022 Dayton Air Show

six blue planes fly in formation
U.S. Navy Blue Angels

The 47th annual Dayton Air Show returns this weekend with fan favorites, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, headlining.

Organizers are expecting a big turnout after canceling the 2020 event and poor weather in 2021.

"For this year we have a full show — a lot more than we've had in probably 20 years," says Scott Buchanan, chairman of the United States Air & Trade Show Board of Trustees which produces the show. "Static displays are way up. Ticket sales are ... pretty much everything we have is sold out except for general admission tickets for both days."

He adds, "Between the Blue Angels, F-16s, ... We have flyovers from some different units on Sunday... (It's) a lot more show than we've had in the last probably four or five years."

The Blue Angels were last at the show in 2018. They were scheduled to appear in 2020 but the show was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We missed having them in '20," says Buchanan. "Every other year we have the Blue Angels and or United States Air Force Thunderbirds. That's what sets the dates (for the show). That's something unique. We'll tell them we want July and they tell us what days — so we don't pick the weekends; they pick the weekends for us, and then we work around that."

The show will feature several new military and civilian exhibits and performances in addition to perennial favorites and the aforementioned static displays.

  • U.S. Army Golden Knights, the Army’s official aerial parachute demonstration team
  • Vampire Airshows, making its first appearance at the Dayton Air Show, showcases the historical de Havilland DH-115 “Vampy” aircraft with aerobatic rolls, inverted flight, high-speed passes and a smoke system.
  • Kent Pietsch Airshows, also making his first appearance, features a dead-stick routine from 6,000 feet, an aerobatic routine and comedy act.
  • C-17 Globemaster III Demo, out of Charleston, S.C., performing its aerial demonstration.
  • F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, the Air Combat Command's precision aerial maneuver team
  • Flybys by the F-15 Eagle, CH-53 Super Stallion, AH-64 Apache, and E-3 Sentry AWACS (Sunday only)
  • TORA! TORA! TORA!, an eight-plane reenactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor complete with pyrotechnics and aerobatic flyer Kevin Coleman, who is making his solo debut in his Red Bull Extra 400 aircraft.

Buchanan thinks people are eager to get back to the big events they enjoyed before the pandemic.

"I was at the Indy 500 and it was a record crowd," he says. "It seems that folks are wanting to get out and do something and we're seeing the response of that. The Country Concert (in Fort Loramie, Oh.) was two weeks ago and that was the first time in its history it's sold out. We're seeing the same kinds of numbers with interest in the air show so we think we'll have a large air show this year, a large turnout."

With good weather in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, Buchanan says organizers are hoping for a turnout of around 70-75,000 people.

The show is July 30-31. Gates open at 9 a.m. with feature shows beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Visitors should note there are major parking changes this year, according to organizers. Information can be found onthe show's parking and information webpage.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.