Despite the cancellation of the Navy’s elite Blue Angels appearance, crowds still flocked to the 2016 Vectren Dayton Air Show at the Dayton International Airport on Saturday.
The show featured performances by the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, Sean D. Tucker, Tora, Tora, Tora!, and others.
The Blue Angels canceled in the aftermath of a tragic crash during a practice airshow June 2 in Smyrna, Tenn., that claimed the life of a Marine pilot. Capt. Jeff Kuss, who flew the No. 6 jet, was honored throughout Saturday’s show. Officials will not give an accurate attendance count until Monday, but said the nice weather and additional performances combated the absence of the Blue Angels.
The show added Redline, a Cincinnati-based two-airplane precision flying act making its first appearance in Dayton, and a single Navy F/A-18 fighter jet demonstration.
Redline pilots Ken Rieder and Jon Thocker flew early on in their aviation career in Dayton.
“We’re excited to be here, and we’re excited to perform in Dayton,” Rieder said.
Betty Byrum of Franklin, Ohio, tries to attend the air show every year. She said the jet team’s cancellation did not affect her family’s decision to come to the show.
“It’s sad, but completely understandable after what happened,” she said. “The show is a great day. You see things you never get to see normally.”
The weather did affect the number of spectators who were treated for heat-related issues. Bill Mangas, medical operations manager for the air show, said more than 50 percent of patients treated there would suffer from heat-related issues.
Mangas said 15 patients have been treated by the medical team as of 1:30 p.m. One patient was transported to a local hospital. Officials did not comment on the condition of the patient or the total number of spectators treated in the afternoon.
Patients were treated for injuries, heat-related illnesses and other issues. The air show has two medical tents staffed with 75 medical professionals from local hospitals. There are also 23 fire departments present, and six ambulances.
Mangas encouraged spectators to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses Sunday.
“Everyone should really take breaks from the sun,” he said. “Drink water before the show tomorrow and now during it.”
He expects more patients than years past due to the large crowd turnout.
Roger Doctor, public safety director for the air show, said the air show had 40 police officers were on scene, and that security protocols were not changed due to recent events such as the Orlando mass shooting.
No arrests or issues at first day of Vectren Dayton Air Show. More than 10 security personnel were placed at each gate. Guests’ bags and belongings were checked for prohibited items.
“We have one of the most thorough safety plans I know of,” he said. “We didn’t change anything because it didn’t need to be changed. It’s top notch.”
Gates open at 9 a.m. Sunday.
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