Military pulls support for Air Show

Budget cuts cancel military air performances and ground displays.


For the first time in the four-decade history of the Vectren Dayton Air Show, the military won’t provide support for the June 22-23 event, which means no Air Force or Navy fighter demonstrations or modern military aircraft displays, a top air show official said.

The cancellation is part of the fallout from the budget cutbacks known as sequestration.

“As far as military aircraft equipment that people are used to seeing in the past, that is not going to happen as of now,” Air Show General Manager Brenda Kerfoot said Wednesday. “That is unprecedented. I don’t think the show has ever gone through a year like that.”

Despite the military’s pullback, the air show will offer free admission to active-duty service members for the second time in the event’s 39-year history, Kerfoot said.

“The whole sequester program has been a bit demoralizing to some people and we felt while the show typically has a lot of military support and that doesn’t happen this year, we still wanted to show our support,” she said.

The Air Force Thunderbirds, a F-16 jet team that was set to perform, canceled the team’s summer season because of budget cuts. Solo jet performances, such as the F-15 or F-18 fighter demonstrations, were a common sight in past years, too.

Active U.S. military aircraft parked on the ground for spectators to explore won’t happen this time, either, she said, but other aircraft displays will be shown.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has had up to 300 personnel support ground operations to pump fuel into military planes to provide extra lighting, and numerous other duties in past air show weeks, Kerfoot said.

“None of that was available this year,” she said. The air show will rely on airport fixed base operators and rent equipment instead, she said.

Show organizers are expecting a 30 percent attendance decline from the typical 70,000 spectators that turn out when the Thunderbirds or the Navy’s Blue Angels rocket through the skies, Kerfoot said. The show will still offer more than a dozen “blockbuster, award-winning” civilian performers, she said.

More than 60 air shows across the nation, or one out of every five, have canceled this season, according to John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, Inc., in Leesburg, Va.

“We expect that number to be closer to 100 before the season finishes,” or one-third of air shows, he wrote in an email Wednesday.

The Vectren Dayton Air 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.”

The air show recently canceled a “Great Wall of Fire” re-enactment of the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing of Hiroshima, Japan because of an outcry and online petition drive objecting to “glamorizing” destruction.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Military

Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base
Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base

One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials. The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said. Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families...
Springfield group to send soldiers holiday care packages
Springfield group to send soldiers holiday care packages

A local group is collecting items to send as holiday care packages for soldiers overseas. Operation Harpo’s Cause was started 27 years ago during the Gulf War, said Mike Porter, a former Marine. He served 13 months overseas as a helicopter crew chief. RELATED: Christmas gifts sought after low turnout at Springfield toy drive READ MORE: Find out...
Wright Patt, defense firm work to protect weapons from cyber threats
Wright Patt, defense firm work to protect weapons from cyber threats

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a $47.9 million contract to a defense contractor to explore ways to protect weapon systems from cyber attacks, according to the Department of Defense. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., which has an office in the Dayton region, will research the problem at Wright-Patterson, the Defense Department reported...
Cottrel: Clark County veterans honored to serve, be recognized
Cottrel: Clark County veterans honored to serve, be recognized

Last weekend I was impressed by all the special events surrounding Veterans Day. There were so many and they were well done. When I was growing up, Veterans Day was kind of a quiet holiday. I remember the red paper poppies that were sold and all the reminders of World War I. After all, the end of “The Great War” was on the 11th day of the...
Loud noise from fighter jets could be heard this week
Loud noise from fighter jets could be heard this week

F-16 fighter jets are set to launch through Ohio’s skies on night training missions this week. The Ohio Air National Guard jets with the 180th Fighter Wing will launch Monday through Thursday during the training exercise, according to the Toledo-based unit. RELATED: Russian surveillance jet flying out of Wright-Patterson The flights are weather...
More Stories