Crowds heavy both days as Air Show avoids rain

Large crowds turned out Sunday for the second day of the Vectren Dayton Air Show featuring the return of popular U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, jet-engine powered truck Shockwave and the NASA display.

Rain held off throughout both days of the show, providing clear skies for all of the performances. Among the usual crowd favorites were the Thunderbirds, who haven’t flown at the Dayton Air Show since 2015. The group was expected to perform in 2017 but canceled their demonstration after a mishap during training the day before the show.

Shockwave, a race truck built with jet engines that can reach speeds up to 376 mph, also returned to the show for the first time since 2015. The crowd Sunday cheered as the truck made its way across the runway.

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“I had a lot of people comment they were so glad to see Shockwave back. Something flying up and down the runway here on the ground, so that was a real good hit again,” said Roger Doctor, public safety director for the air show.

The C-17 Globemaster III and KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling demonstration by the Air Force was something Doctor said he’d never seen before. The C-17 is one of the newest and largest aircraft used by the Air Force, primarily to transport equipment, supplies and troops. The KC-135 is the core aerial refueling aircraft.

“I think anybody who sees that huge, huge airplane up there doing what they did, makes me proud to be an American,” Doctor said.

Static displays were also popular at the show as people lined up after the main attraction ended, including NASA’s once annual display.

The NASA tent and activities also returned to the air show after a four-year break, lining up with the 50-year anniversary of the moon landing. The visit also was part of NASA’s outreach after the announcement the space agency will try to return to the moon in a mission coined Artemis - Apollo’s twin sister - said John Oldham, lead display technician at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

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“The kids today have not had that experience of wow, something profound just happened out in space; they never had that Apollo moment. I think there’s an awareness now sort of gaining up: ‘we’re going to have our Apollo moment,’” Oldham said. “This anniversary is kind of a nudge…I think that absolutely there’s a peak in interest.”

Eleven-year-old Noah Loper said he thinks it could be common to live in space when he’s older, and he would consider it. The best thing, he said, would be to find life.

“The good thing is you get to explore, learn something new,” he said. “The bad thing is you may not have air.”

Mike and 9-year-old Bryce Glasener, along with Dale Dabe were surprised by how large the display crafts were when they walked through some of the static displays — the first time they’d ever been that close to some of the aircraft.

This year’s air show was a first for the Glaseners and the first in many years for Dabe.

This was the first year the Team Oracle aerobatic duo, Sean D. Tucker and Jessy Panzer, performed at the Dayton Air Show. Tucker has performed for years as a solo act but retired from his solo career after the 2018 season. Sunday’s show was the last time Dayton Air show spectators will see Tucker fly alone as a preview to the show and to perform his popular triple ribbon cut where he chops three banners with the wings of his Oracle Challenger III.

»RELATED: Firefighter who led 2017 Thunderbird accident rescue takes flight as hero

That plane will be headed to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum later this year.

Rain held off both days of the show.


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