These 5 times Dayton saw one-of-a-kind planes up close were truly special

In recent years, the National Musuem of the U.S. Air Force has been including more live flying aircraft in its special programs and giving the public an air show of sorts over the museum.

The Dayton Air Show, which returns to the area this weekend, is another showcase that brings unique aircraft to the region.

Here’s a sampling of some of the most impressive planes that have been live in the area:

To sweeten the opening of the Memphis Belle exhibit, the museum included three B-17 Flying Fortresses, five P-51 Mustangs and a PT-19 trainer aircraft that made flyovers of the museum grounds. Several of the World War II era aircraft also landed for public display during the four-day, 70th anniversary celebration of Memphis Belle’s 25-mission completion in Europe. Spectators were also treated to the sight of Air Force One making practice approaches to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during the WW II flyovers.

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Dawn Patrol

Credit: Ron Alvey

Credit: Ron Alvey

Every other year in September, replicas and authentic models of the earliest of combat aircraft visit the museum for the World War I Dawn Patrol Rendezvous. This year marks the last year of the World War I Centenary, 2018. Living history reenactors, period vehicles, and radio controlled aircraft are all part of the weekend event taking place this year on September 22 and 23.


In 2016, Air Force pilots landed a CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in the front yard of the museum. The Osprey, from a current Green Hornets squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, arrived to celebrate the opening of Vietnam War Green Hornets display with Veterans who took part in a rescue operation. Museum visitors were allowed to tour the tiltrotor Osprey.

RELATED: ‘She’s gorgeous’: Thousands see Memphis Belle exhibit at AF Museum

Doolittle Raiders



A Doolittle Tokyo Raiders memorial service and commemoration took place at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 2017 which marked the 75th anniversary of the mission. Of the 80 Raiders, Dayton native Lt.Col. Richard E. Cole, 101, the last survivor, attended the festivities along with half-a-dozen B-25 Mitchell bombers like the Raiders flew.

Guppy Shuttle

One of the strangest-looking aircraft to ever land at the museum also brought one of the most important space artifacts with it in 2012. The Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) arrived from Houston aboard NASA’s Super Guppy transport. The nose of the Super Guppy has a large hinge and opened to reveal the plastic-wrapped CCT which eventually became the Space Shuttle exhibit in the Fourth Hangar.

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