A look behind the air show’s parking lot party

Blue Angels (Photo WDTN/Josh Ames)
Blue Angels (Photo WDTN/Josh Ames)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — It’s a parking lot party, just with a different kind of radio providing the tunes.

“Don’t have any other worries in the world right now,” says Steve Welsh who was trying to find the radio frequencies of air show pilots.

Welsh is one of a dedicated group that camps out in the parking lot all day Friday to watch the planes arrive and go through their practice routines.

“I always take off work,” Welsh says. “I come from about three hours away.”

It’s not just about watching the show, but listening to it as well.

“A lot of guys have radios,” says Brian Halk. “You can hear the pilots talking to each other.”

Halk says he was one of the original “parking lot pilots”.

“Back before it became a regular thing for people to come out on Friday,” Halk says.

Now you have to come early if you want a good spot.

Those who make the trip come prepared with chairs, coolers and a love of planes.

“Get to hang out with a lot great people, tailgate, meet other air show enthusiasts and enjoy a great show without having to pay the first day to get in,” says Trevor Griffis.

Griffis drives from Indiana each year to see the air show. Now he even gets paid to take photos at air shows. But for he and the others out here the real payoff is in planes.

“As they’re doing their maneuvers overhead, you can’t get that anywhere else,” Griffis says.

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