Dayton Air Show moved to June next year

The Vectren Dayton Air Show will take to the skies next June after record high temperatures and a sharp descent in attendance last July caused the showcase event to lose money this year.

Organizers hope the June 22-23 dates next year are cooler than the record 102 degrees reached at the Dayton International Airport on July 7 that kept droves of attendees away and sent dozens to the hospital.

This will mark the first time in two decades the show has scheduled flight dates in June, where temperatures ranged from the high 70s to high 80s in recent years, according to National Weather Service data.

“This year … was extraordinary,” said Terry Grevious, airshow executive director. “It was so hot people simply did not come out to the show.”

Attendance was down 38 percent overall for the July 7-8 flight show weekend. The event counted 47,000 attendees. Historically, a typical weekend has had about 75,000.

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The early dates should make it easier for the show to win commitments from military and civilian performers, said John Cudahy, executive director of the International Council of Air Shows, Inc., in Leesburg, Va. The Dayton Air Show has between 10 to 12 acts perform every year.

The show has to compete with the Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure airshow in Oshkosh, Wis., in late July and many fliers don’t like to perform elsewhere so close to that storied gathering, he said.

The Dayton Air Show has asked the Air Force Thunderbirds or the Navy’s Blue Angels to perform at the 2013 show, Grevious said. The Thunderbirds, flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon, are set to announce next year’s schedule in December.

“For 2013 in particular, I think (the earlier show dates) will make it much more likely they’ll be able to attract the Thunderbirds,” Cudahy said.

“It’s very important” to Dayton, Grevious said. “There’s no larger draw at an airshow in North America than a military jet team.”

The Blue Angels performed at this year’s show and have committed next year to fly in Quebec, Canada the same weekend as the Dayton show. The highly sought-after military jet teams typically don’t perform at the same show in two consecutive years.

This year’s high temperatures took a toll on spectators: 276 people sought medical aid, most for heat-related issues, he said. More than 30 were sent to the hospital. In an average year, about 200 people head to a medical station or need assistance.

The airshow lost money, but Grevious declined to say how much. Officials have said the show had enough money in reserve to cover the loss.

The show of aerial acrobatics and dozens of static aircraft displays costs about $1.6 million a year and needs about 1,000 volunteers to get off the ground.

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