Dayton Air Show sees highest turnout since 2014

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Attendance at the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show took a positive turn after several bumpy years.

According to the U.S. Air and Trade Show Board of Trustees, 62,000 visitors attended the 44th annual two-day show held at the Dayton International Airport. The preliminary numbers were released Monday morning and staff expects the final ticket sales to be even higher.

“We’re hoping those numbers climb and climb and climb,” said Rodger Doctor, the Public Safety Director for the Air Show.

The climbing numbers were welcome news after several years of dwindling attendance.

Doctor explained poor weather and canceled headlining acts may have affected the 2015-2017 shows. The Navy Blue Angels canceled their 2016 performance after a crew member died in a crash. In 2017, an Air Force Thunderbird aircraft flipped on the Dayton runway during practice, prompting another cancelation.  

2018’s numbers are just several thousand short of the 65,000 people tallied in 2014, and they’re up from 44,000 visitors in 2017.

Doctor said the headlining Blue Angels proved to be a crowd pleaser.

“We walked around yesterday while the Blues were flying and people were going, ‘Oh, it’s been so long!’ Two years in a row we lost our featured act,” said Doctor.

The excitement translated to revenue, with the Air Show bringing in an estimated $3.2 million in local economic impact.

Staff credited the success to volunteers, performers and an enthusiastic audience.

Scott Buchanan, the chairman of the U.S. Air and Trade Show said, “We hear a lot of feedback about how wonderful a place Dayton is to come to. (It’s the) birthplace of aviation, but it’s how they’re treated (that keeps them coming back).”

Organizers said they’re looking forward to next year’s Dayton Air Show and have already started having planning meetings. The Air Force Thunderbirds are booked as the 2019 headlining act.

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