Everyone has heard the news that the 2012 Vectren Dayton Air Show attendance was down by a whopping 38% due to oven-like heat reaching up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit on the tarmac. What the news hasn’t published is that 47,000 people DID enjoy a great time regardless of the heat.

Our family has been enjoying the air show year in year out and loved it again this year, the key to attendance of an air show in the heat of the summer requires.

  1. Preparation. Umbrellas, white sheets and towels, sunscreen, hats, etc.
  2. Water. Lots of it. They don’t allow coolers to be brought in, but they DO allow gigantic bottles of water and ice to be brought in. (Pro tip)
  3. Shade is your friend. Just being under the wing of a plane can drop the air temp. 7-10 degrees. Highly recommended.
  4. Exertion to a minimum. Don’t run, and don’t even hurry places. Take your time.
  5. Drinks heavy on ice. Drinks serve dual purposes here, to quench thirst and to dump on each-other.

Usually at the air show I am a shutterbug with the aerial acts. This year however I focused my lens on the static displays.

The kid-favorite display was the eSurance Tennis display. The display featured a trailer component with air-conditioning, a photo booth where you could get your kids photos taken with a tennis racket and then download the photo with an online code, and a really cool Mario Tennis room where kids could enjoy some time out of the heat playing Nintendo 3DS Mario Tennis. The second display included two full-sized inflatable tennis courts where trainers were working with the 10-12 year olds on their swing.

The Armed Forces

Always a favorite to see is the cutting-edge recruiting tools being used by our US military. The Marines always have their red tricked out Humvee and their two pull-up bars. They give away prizes to anyone who can rock out 10-20 pullups. Huah! The Army re-monikered their slogan and re-wrapped their 53 ft. air-conditioned trailer, and the Air Force surprised us with their tricked out black “phantom” muscle car. I didn’t get around to shooting the Navy display, but there were definitely lots of white uniforms representing.


The Chrysler team really delivered this year with a test drive course of their newest models 200, 300 and Town and Country. Those who test drove (including this guy) their vehicles were entered to win a $45,000 grand prize vehicle as well as a FREE t-shirt. Definitely worth the wait. I drove the Chrysler 300 which featured a full leather and mahogany interior, keyfob keystart, gps, bluetooth, etc. The feature I really liked was the variable speed cruise control. Have you ever been on the interstate and had cruise control on and then the car in front of you slows down quickly? You have to react and shot down cruise control and quickly decelerate. The Chrysler 300 has a special lens camera in the front bumper that will notice the speed of the car in front and will automatically brake you down to prevent a collision. Safety first I always say. 😉


Talking with pilots, sitting in the cockpits and posing with the mini-gun is a great opportunity for those who are amazed by these incredibly versatile war machines. Pilots talk about their time in Iraq and Iran and providing close in air support for troops as well as lifting out our soldiers directly off the front lines. Brave, exciting and as my wife says “Yummy” which I can only assume is roughly equivalent to “handsome”.

Our sons Connor and Kieran enjoyed the airshow and left wanting to come back next year. Connor said on the way home “this was the best day ever!” Now.. that is why we go to the Vectren Dayton Air Show.

Check out my photo gallery from the show here!