Dayton Air Show

Airshow Photography from the UK and around the world
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sylvancatharsis
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Dayton Air Show

Post by sylvancatharsis »

If there's any place on Earth synonymous with aviation, it's got to be Dayton, Ohio. The annual air show at the international airport there is one of the most prestigious in the USA. After a 20-year absence, I decided to make the four-hour trek westward and take in the spectacle. The flying display was outstanding, with a couple of excellent late additions bolstering a lineup that already featured some of the top military and civilian acts on the circuit, and despite some early parking woes, overflowing wastebaskets, and pyros being set off at head-scratching times (such as during the C-17 display), it really was a top-notch event all around.

Unfortunately, a combination of variable and often challenging lighting conditions and my Sigma 150-600mm going soft most of the day (should've stuck with my trusty old Canon), my photos aren't great. But here are a few keepers.

Because it's Dayton, there's only one Wright way to start the show:
ImageThe Wright Stuff by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

My first time seeing the Golden Knights jumping from their C-147A, a.k.a. Dash 8. It's a nice machine, but I do miss the old screaming C-31...
ImageKnight in Shining Armor by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The Bayou Militia came up from New Orleans, offering a series of very energetic passes and low approaches.
ImageBayou Militia by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageThe Eagle Soars by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Speed by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The F-22 Demo Team was a last-minute addition.
ImageClawing Skyward by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The F/A-18 demo from VFA-122 was not a last-minute addition. They were kind enough to bring their brightly-colored CAG bird.
ImageParade Pass by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageRhino by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageThe Fast Airbender by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The Thunderbirds closed the show, and really got the worst of the shadows for most of their display, but the sun did shine on them a few times...
ImageEchelon by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

On the historic front, there was Randy Ball's MiG-17F...
ImageThe Enemy by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

...and B-25 "Rosie's Reply."
ImageRosie's Reply by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The Redline Aerobatic Team was a new one for me, an impeccably flown father-son act that left me thoroughly impressed.
ImageRedline by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Red Bull was one of the highlights of the show, with fixed- and rotary-wing solo aerobatics, skydiving, and wingsuits mixing things up.
ImageRed Bull Gives You Rotors by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

There were a few other acts, but none of my photos of them are worth sharing. As for the static display, it was easily the strongest I've seen since pre-pandemic times. Unfortunately, most of the aircraft were surrounded by caution tape that was almost touching the aircraft (and, in some cases, was), prohibiting any decent photographs of them. Which was a shame, as there were some gems, such as a special-scheme T-1, Hawkeyes from VAW-121 and VAW-126 (the former in a CAG livery), and a CRJ-200 in the Air Wisconsin corporate livery, rendered unphotographable due to looking like they were set amid crime scenes.

Fortunately, a few were spared the ignominy of that yellow abomination, such as the USN TPS Talon:
ImageFor the Test Pilots by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr
(Yes, there's a segment of apron painted green.)

One small segment of the extensive display, photographed while waiting to board the KC-46.
ImageA Fine Air Show Morning by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageSaving Grace by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

One of two F-35s parked at the entrance to the show ground, with the caution tape far enough away to photograph them.
ImageLightning by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The Seahawks E-2D; best I could do given the caution tape.
ImageHawkeye by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Hopefully these are of some interest!
Author of CULT OF THE WYVERN, a novel about Westland Wyverns and aliens. (Really.)
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JMC
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by JMC »

Love the Rhino topside!

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spellow3010
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by spellow3010 »

What a lovely set, interesting stuff. Loved the low down F-35 static shot. And nice to see the 'JZs' too. I am so pleased that the VFA-122 CAG is still the favoured mount for the demo team - she was in the strip down bay at Lemoore back in March and I wondered if it was something 'terminal' for that airframe. Great to see it back in action - one of my favourite fast jet routines.

Enjoyed looking at this set.
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sylvancatharsis
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by sylvancatharsis »

spellow3010 wrote:
Wed 26 Jul 2023, 6:41 am
I am so pleased that the VFA-122 CAG is still the favoured mount for the demo team - she was in the strip down bay at Lemoore back in March and I wondered if it was something 'terminal' for that airframe.
Thanks for the kind words! I've seen images of the '122 CAG bird at a few shows, so it's luckily making the rounds. And a good thing for that, as it's quite the looker.

Some more edits from the show. By the way, next year is the Dayton Air Show's 50th anniversary, and I've got a hunch they're planning something big. So, if anyone's looking for another excuse to visit the Birthplace of Aviation, there ya go.

ImageMaking Clouds by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageRoarin' Rhino by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

First time I've seen the Warbird Heritage Foundation's Corsair
ImageTailhook Legacy by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageRaw Power by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageFly Like an Eagle by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

On a side note, I find it amusing that, when I went to Barksdale AFB, which is of course in Louisiana, only one Bayou Militia F-15 was present, but Dayton had four of them (the two fliers plus two in the static). Priorities, I guess...hehe.

ImageTurn and Burn by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageDiamond by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageFive-Card Flat by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

I see these every day - though they say "Pittsburgh" on the tail instead of "Charleston" - but still a treat to see the C-17 demo, even if they don't fling it about the way they did in years past...
ImageMighty Moose by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageHeavy Hauler by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageAir Dominance by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageRise, Raptor by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Arty shot through the pyro blasts...
ImageRaptor's Role by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The haze in this one is also from the pyrotechnics
ImageFlash by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Not so sure 2023 is really the year anyone wants to see a jet with a Red Star looking like it just blew something up, but...
ImageBoom Boom by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

ImageMiG Mayhem by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The penultimate performer (before the Thunderbirds, of course), Bill Stein got stuck with the worst lighting of the day, which is a real shame, as he's got one very vibrant Edge 540.
ImageLivin' on the Edge by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Some more statics, starting with the Ohio ANG's KC-135 in the old KC-97 scheme, one of two Stratotankers at the show:
ImageOhio Gas by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The RCAF Aurora was a late arrival on the Saturday
ImageAurora by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The rather lovely DC-3 "Flagship Detroit"
ImageFlagship Detroit by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

"Wow, I've got to check out that CRJ-200!" is a phrase I never thought I'd utter. But, gotta admit, this Air Wisconsin corporate scheme looks great, even on a CRJunk.
ImageThe first CRJ-200 I've ever been excited to see. by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

The Ohio ANG hi-viz Viper was on hand.
ImageSpecial Stinger by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

So, about those cones and caution tape...
Image121 Special by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

Sigh...
ImageColumbus Legacy by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr

And finally, someone, please, give these T-6Bs a bath!
ImageWash Me by Sean E. Kelly, on Flickr
Author of CULT OF THE WYVERN, a novel about Westland Wyverns and aliens. (Really.)
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spellow3010
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by spellow3010 »

A great follow-up set Sean, really enjoyed looking through these too. The VAW-121 E-2 tail is a nice addition. Very nice to see the Canadian Aurora too. Pick of the shots for me is the fantastically melodramatic Mig with pyros.

All in all, this looked like a great show and your two sets of pictures really do set the scene for a fine event.
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sylvancatharsis
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by sylvancatharsis »

spellow3010 wrote:
Tue 01 Aug 2023, 6:50 am
Pick of the shots for me is the fantastically melodramatic Mig with pyros.
Thanks! I was lucky to get that shot actually, at least without a bunch of heads in the way, as I was well back from the crowd line. I wasn't even trying to get a front-row seat; that crowd was massive.
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AARDVARK
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by AARDVARK »

Just stumbled on this great review, some lovely pics also.
Thinking of going next year as the lure of seeing the Blue Angels and then visiting the USAF museum either before or after the show is good combination.
Is the sun mostly behind you for shots?
Where is the best place for photography?
Is the rehearsals/arrivals/ departures day viewable ?
Did you opt for the photo-pit pass

Many thanks
Dean

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sylvancatharsis
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by sylvancatharsis »

Thanks for the compliments, Dean! I'll try to help the best I can.
Is the sun mostly behind you for shots?
The crowdline faces northwest - more north than west - so the sun is behind you all day. It might peer over your left shoulder a little toward the end of the show, but not enough to hamper your images.
Where is the best place for photography?
Unfortunately, Dayton has followed the lead of so many US shows by devoting much premium crowdline, particularly at show center, to expensive chalets and VIP seating, so unless you're thinking of forking out the money for something like that, I'd say "anywhere you can find a spot." Based on this map, and assuming that everything stays the same for 2024, I'd say "Spectator Area 1" would be your best bet if you're going with general admission, as it appears closest to show center. (Not sure what's up with the "Flight Line Hangars" though.) For reference, the photos I posted are from Spectator Area 2.
Is the rehearsals/arrivals/ departures day viewable ?
I can't answer this question from experience, as I opted to visit the USAF Museum the day before the show when most aircraft arrive (if you do this, expect massive crowds). Just looking at a map, I don't see many good places to watch rehearsals, as they use the north runway for the air show. Viewing arrivals might be possible from the parking area, provided they'll let you park there, as it's right off the threshold of the south runway. But don't take my word for it.
Did you opt for the photo-pit pass
I didn't, and I've heard some grumblings about it from Dayton regulars; apparently, it used to be closer to show center in the past but was moved a couple years ago to make room for more chalets, and there's been much debate on whether it's worth the money in the new location. For example, someone on another forum posted a Blue Angels crossover photo from the pit, and the crossing point was well to the left of where they were seated. The photos I posted are from the vicinity of the photo pit, a little further right from show center. The appeal of the pass to me would be the earlier access to the static display.
Author of CULT OF THE WYVERN, a novel about Westland Wyverns and aliens. (Really.)
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AARDVARK
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Re: Dayton Air Show

Post by AARDVARK »

Thats great, Thankyou for that info appreciated 👍

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