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Minus Thunderbirds, Dayton show to suffer

– Organizers of the Dayton Air Show expect smaller crowds for the two-day event this weekend, thanks to the Air Force Thunderbirds and other military support pulling out because of federal budget cuts.

The show, one of the oldest and most prominent in the country, usually draws around 70,000 people and has a $3.2 million impact on the local economy. But the Thunderbirds precision jet team had to withdraw this year because of federal cutbacks. Military support from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base also will not participate.

The base near Dayton is the state’s largest military installation and typically lends aircraft, vehicles and about 300 personnel to help set up the show.

The U.S. Department of Defense has barred military aircraft on air show grounds, marking the first time in the four-decade history of the show that the Air Force will not have a giant cargo jet on display.

Air show general manager Brenda Kerfoot told the Dayton Daily News that without the jet team in the lineup, the show could see 30 percent fewer people.