Air show a homecoming for one pilot

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — John Hiltz can still remember the first time he watched from the ground as those aerial acrobats streaked through the sky.

“I saw the Blue Angels perform right in this venue,” Hiltz says.

Years later he’s returning to the Dayton Air Show with a little different perspective.

“To be back here performing in the show brings things full circle and makes it that much more poignant to be here,” Hiltz says.

HIltz is now one of the Blue Angels flying this weekend at the Dayton Air Show. The Kentucky native’s not only one who will have family in attendance here. Yvonne Dumas is from Columbus. She helps maintain the jets.

“It is a lot of work but they are great flyers,” Dumas says. “They are champions. We love to have these aircraft.”

But last year the Blue Angels were grounded because of budget cuts brought about by sequestration.

“Last year was a challenge,” Hiltz says. “We had a year off because of the sequestration budget cuts. What we’ve seen in our season thus far is record crowds have come out to see us. America is dying to connect with its military.”

It’s a connection Hiltz once felt as a kid at this air show. Now he hopes he set another youngster’s dreams soaring.

“We want to impact people,” Hiltz says. “That’s what we’re here to do to let people know these are the kind of things people are doing on aircraft carriers throughout the world.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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