DAYTON – A popular southwest Ohio air show expects attendance to drop 30 percent because of a lack of military participation with the federal budget cuts.
The Dayton Air Show, which has drawn as many as 70,000 spectators, is one of the latest shows around the country to be affected by the cuts, which have the military pulling back on spending in what are considered nonessential areas.
The cutbacks have affected more than 200 of the nearly 300 air shows held in the United States each year, said John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows. About 60 shows have been canceled, and he expects more cancellations as the season progresses.
The Cleveland National Air Show, which has been held over Labor Day weekend since 1964, announced in March the show would be canceled because of the federal budget cuts.
Military cuts earlier caused the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to pull out of the Dayton show at Dayton International Airport, and now organizers say the show will have no military fighter demonstrations or displays for the first time in the event’s nearly 40-year history.
As far as military aircraft equipment that people are used to seeing in the past, that is not going to happen as of now, the show’s general manager, Brenda Kerfoot, told the Dayton Daily News.
The Air Force Thunderbirds, an F-16 jet team, canceled the team’s entire summer season because of budget cuts. Solo jet performances, such as the F-15 or F-18 fighter demonstrations, also were canceled.
Kerfoot said there will be displays of other aircraft at the show despite the absence of active U.S. military aircraft that are usually parked on the ground for spectators to explore. This year’s show will highlight the AeroShell Formation Acrobatic team, a MiG-17 demonstration and the flight of the world’s last flying World War II era B-29, Fifi.
There also won’t be any of the typical personnel support from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at the June 22-23 event.
Wright-Patterson has had up to 300 personnel support ground operations at the show in past years.