2006/07/30 Dayton Air Show


This year's Dayton Airshow was held on Saturday July 29th and Sunday 30th.  Dayton, Ohio, is about five hours drive from Pittsburgh.  Since I had to help an academic conference held in Pittsburgh until Friday, I decided to skip the Saturday show, and saw the Sunday show only.  I drove from Pittsburgh to Springfield, about 20 miles east of Dayton, stayed a night there, and went to the airshow.

You probably all know that Dayton Ohio is the city where Wright brothers were born and were running a bicycle shop.  Now there is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and beside the base is the Air Force Museum.  So, it is a popular trip destination for airplane fans, and the Dayton airshow used to be one of the biggest airshows in this region.  Lots of military demonstrations, civilian aerobatic teams, WWII airplanes, etc...    Particularly, the 2003 show featured Thunderbirds, Blue Angels, and Canadian Snow Birds all together.  I saw all three major aerobatic teams of north America on a single day.  That was the opportunity of life time.

But, this year's was the major scale-down from the past years'.

First of all, the civilian participation was considerably less.  Only one civilian aerobatic team participated.  As for WWII airplanes, we had only Confederate Air Force's Tora-Tora-Tora demonstration and P-38's heritage flight with F-16.  No Spitfire, no B-17, no P-51.  Maybe due to the small participation, the show-opening parachute jump was 1:00pm, which should be sometime in the morning.  Before that only attractions were low approaches of Ohio National Guard's F-16s and the local radio control airplane club.

 In the morning, F-16 from Ohio National Guard making a low approach.  In front is Blue Angels C-130 Fat Albert.

If it had been an airshow of a small local airport, it was ok.  But, it's an airshow held at the city of Wright brothers.  The expectation was high.  This year's show didn't match the high expectation.  I hope they will recover the level of the past years for the next one.  Pittsburgh airshow didn't have much military flight demonstrations this year, but many of the civilian teams flew twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  They could have done the same in Dayton.

Nonetheless, the afternoon session was good.  F-16 aerobatics, AV-8B Harrier STOL and hovering demo (due to the air temperature, it didn't show VTOL this time), and Sky Soldiers AH-1 Cobra demo were all good.

Replica of Wright Flyer (1905 model, used by Army, if I remember right.)
Tora-Tora-Tora by Confederate Air Force.  The airplanes were modified/repainted T-6/SNJ Texans so that they looked like a Japanese Imperial Navy airplanes.

These two were the best shots from Dayton airshow.  In Dayton, the sun is behind almost all day, making a good condition for taking pictures.

Sky Soldiers AH-1 Cobras.  These Cobras belong to Army Aviation Heritage Foundation.
Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier.  It demonstrated the STOL capability, but due to the temperature, it didn't show VTOL demo.

And, Blue Angels concluded the show!

Fat Albert.  Just like the second day of Pittsburgh airshow, it didn't use rocket assistance on take off.  I don't know why.  Maybe the airframe is aging and cannot tolerate rocket propulsion frequently?
Famous Blue Angels Diamond.  My plan was to aim at the middle of the two vertical tail-wings of the #1 airplane and take a close-up look, but the formation flew a little farther away than I hoped.
Echelon Parade.  I wanted to have all four pilots visible.  But, the #3 pilot was hidden by the wing of the #1 airplane.  Nonetheless, it was a good shot.

When you see the Thunderbirds, a chance of getting a picture of a close-up look of a single airplane is after Trail-to-Diamond roll.  A solo airplane comes low altitude with full afterburner from the left while audience are paying attention to the formation on the right.  I was searching a similar chance of the Blue Angels, and probably it is after Bomb-Burst-Downward (they may be calling it delta vertical break, or something like that.)  After the maneuver, all six airplanes converges at the show center, and the one comes from front left to the rear right of the show center rolls the airplane steeply and exposes the top side of the airplane to the show center.  I guess that's the best chance to take a picture of the back side of the airplane, and I'll try it in the Cleveland Airshow.

By the way, although Blue Angels performed all the maneuvers, #6 apparently got a trouble, and landed after Delta Roll.  So, the Bomb-Burst Downward and Pitch Up Break were performed with one airplane short.  #6 taxied back to the show center with other five airplanes after the flight demonstration.

The next airshow will be Cleveland, early September.  If it goes as advertised, I must be able to see F-22 Raptor fly-by.

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