Vectren Dayton Air Show draws thousands even without Thunderbirds

Kelly and Dan Cipera of Dayton point out an airplane for their infant son Fin Saturday at the Vectren Dayton Air Show

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) –  Despite a rocky start Friday that sidelined the headlining act, thousands still turned out for the Vectren Dayton Air Show Saturday. Spectators enjoyed the comfortable weather and the performers and organizers enjoyed smooth flying.

Tricky maneuvers and daring stunts have been drawing crowds to Dayton International Airport for more than 4 decades and every year it attracts curious newcomers.

The Ciperas live in Dayton and had heard the buzz around the Air Show for years, but Saturday was the family’s first trip to the airfield.

Dan Cipera said, “It’s the kids’ first air show and I’ve always had an interest in airplanes and just wanted to show off the cool airplanes at the air show for the kids.”

It was Richard George’s kids who brought him from Upland, Indiana to watch the Air Show for the first time.

“This is a good day to come out, sit in your chair and watch brave men fly machines,” George said.

Though George joked his stomach couldn’t handle the aerial stunts the pilots pulled, the Navy veteran bravely fought in the Vietnam War and said he appreciated the air show’s nod to servicemen and women.

“You can always tell the other veterans because they recognize you,” George said.

Jasmyn and Jennifer Phillips have a lifetime of Dayton Air Show performances under their belts and have made it an annual tradition.

Jennifer Phillips said,”I like to play on the ‘bouncies’ and watch the planes do flips.”

The girls were taking photographs with a large camera and learning tips from their father.

Jasmyn Phillips said, “I want to be a photographer when I get older, so I like taking pictures.

Off the airfield, other spectators were finding more to photograph. Some snapped shots of historic war machines or posed with modern birds.

Some watching the performances said they were disappointed the headlining Thunderbirds weren’t performing Saturday, but many also said that didn’t stop the them from enjoying all of the other attractions.

Dan Cipera said,”They’re always a great act, but I knew there were a lot of other great acts here so it didn’t stop us from coming obviously.”

The newcomer Cipera family said the Air Show just might become a new family tradition.

Dan Cipera said, “It’s an opportunity to see some airplanes flying, doing these cool stunts. It’s a great opportunity for the kids.”

Even without the Thunderbirds performing Sunday, you can still catch 10 other high-flying acts.

Gates open at 9. The show starts at 11:30.

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