“It’s hard to leave a post that you’re really comfortable in, but it’s just somebody else’s turn to enjoy this particular spot,” he said in an interview.
The outgoing chairman will remain on the board. He said changes under his tenure brought more stability to the air show as did canceling an unprofitable trade show at the expo center at Dayton International Airport in 2005 and 2006.
When he joined the board in 1999, he said, “We were not doing well. The shows were tough and sustainability was tough” and the trade show was struggling.
“When I took over, we started to build our way up to a much more manageable show,” he said. “Even in a bad show (with low attendance), we would break even or make money even without jet teams.”
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The air show has battled fluctuating attendance in recent years because of weather and most recently dealt with the unexpected cancellation of headline performers the Navy Blue Angels in 2016 after a team member’s fatal crash in Tennessee and the Air Force Thunderbirds in June after a jet mishap before the Dayton Air Show show injured a pilot at Dayton International Airport.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to return to the air show next year.
The weekend air show has about a $3 million economic impact and attracts up to 75,000 spectators a year.