Some of the most fascinating flying machines at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show Presented by Kroger will also be some of the tiniest.
While massive military jets such as the Air Force C-17 Globemaster III airlifter and KC-135 refueler will dominate the static display area at Dayton International Airport, spectators will also have a chance to discover the world of light-sport and ultralight aircraft—the smallest, simplest machines one can fly.
As many as six light airplanes are scheduled to be on display both days of the weekend air show. While numbers and types are subject to change, the lineup includes examples of Challenger, Phantom, Quicksilver, Rans, Titan and Xenon aircraft. Put on by local enthusiasts, the ultralight display is new to the air show this year.
Instead of streamlined hulls and jet engines, these one- or two-seat machines are made with tubes, wires and fabric. They typically have two-stroke engines that deliver 30 to 60 horsepower. They don’t go fast, but their open-air designs offer spectacular views.
“They give the pilot a bird’s eye view of the world with the wind in his face,” said Paul Lindamood, director of Dayton Ultralights, an informal group of recreational fliers based at Moraine Airpark.
“Ultralight flying is largely about the simplicity, the romance and the glory days of flying—the sheer exhilaration of being a part of the wind, the sky and the elements,” said Lindamood, who plans to display his Quicksilver 2S both days.
Lindamood believes ultralight flying allows one to experience flight as the Wright brothers knew it—but with the benefit of today’s aerospace materials and design knowledge. “Wilbur and Orville would have marveled at what these modern day craft can do,” he said.
Originally organized in 2000 and revived in 2013, Dayton Ultralights holds numerous annual fly-ins, contests and group flying excursions. It counts a local flying membership of 75, with more than 30 pilots and aircraft based in the Dayton region. Its Facebook page includes more than 1,100 pilots from around the world.
“We work to reach out to the flying and non-flying community in communicating the merits of ultralight and open-air flying. We endeavor to adhere to all conventional rules of flight and airport safety operations, and to constantly improve our flying skills and abilities,” Lindamood said.
The Vectren Dayton Air Show is one of America’s top annual aviation events. This year’s headliner act will be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Joining them will be the U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet, U.S. Army Golden Knights and a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) demonstration. Making its first appearance in Dayton will be the Breitling Jet Team from Dijon, France, on its first North American Tour. The show will also feature Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch Jet WACO, Mat Younkin’s Beech 18 aerobatics, the legendary Sean D. Tucker, the Shockwave Jet Truck and the Wright “B” Flyer, a lookalike of the Wright brothers’ first production airplane.
Discount general admission tickets are on sale at area Kroger Stores. The Greater Dayton RTA is offering Park & Ride express shuttle service from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Gates are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The feature show takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.