The 2017 Dayton Airshow: Short but sweet–with Trump now president aviation has a new lease on life

IMG_4724.JPGAs usual, The Chairman’s Club hosts at the Dayton Air Show did a great job; the food was particularly good during this 2017 event.  It usually is, but this time it was even better and still proves to be the best way to see the great exhibition of American airpower.  It was a rough weekend for the long running air show at the birthplace of aviation.  On Friday the Thunderbirds had an accident during a reconnaissance flight which essentially ended them for the weekend—a big blow to the schedule.  Then by Sunday the weather was just fantastic except for the very windy conditions.  Several acts were cut making the show which should have been over four and a half hours to a whittled down three hours long.  But the best part of the day was when the great B-25s paid tribute to the Doolittle Raid with a massive wall of fire right in front of my seat.

I normally take more pictures at these types of events but for a change I just enjoyed the day and watched in awe how wonderful the F/A-18 Super Hornet performed as well as the F-35.  I tried to record some of the afterburner action but the sound was so overwhelming that it was difficult to capture the immensity of it.  So for the day, mostly, I just enjoyed the show.  It was a privilege to be there and to witness such a raw exhibition of American horsepower and I think I felt that way because Trump was in the White House now as opposed to years past when Obama was in charge of the military.  I’ve been to the Dayton Air Show a lot of times but I don’t always feel compelled to write about it, because there always seemed to be a cloud over the military in the past prior to the election of Donald Trump.

This year the food did taste better, the sun was brighter and the engines sounded more eager to race out into the heavens to protect the idea of America from the insurgents of anti-capitalist sentiment.  So even though the show was much shorter than normal, the festivities had more teeth to them with an optimism exhumed from a changing administration.  Everyone involved with the show seemed to be functioning from a little less desperation and the multiple American flags displayed around the show seemed to be more proud than usual.  In the past it seemed that people revered the flag almost like a dying loved one.  They respected it but there was always the concern that it might not be there tomorrow.  Nobody wanted to talk about it, but everyone seemed to feel that way.  This year it was like a new lease on life, and the American flag didn’t feel like an ancient piece of nostalgia.

As I sat there in those nice seats and enjoyed the great food I couldn’t help but think about my various trips to different countries over the past year.  Those countries don’t have planes like we do, the good work of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and many others are unique to the United States.  It is planes like that F/A-18 Super Hornet that have really extended the reach of American politics into regions desperately in need of capitalism—and it has kept the bad guys away from American borders for many generations.  The power that was on display has a lot to do with our freedoms—it truly is the birthplace of aviation in Dayton where it all started and essentially made America great to begin with.  Aviation is critical to our global success and air shows like the one in Dayton are monstrously critical to advancements in that field.

They had a Wright Brothers Flyer replica which was the plane they built there in Dayton first flown down in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  I’ve seen the plane before, or versions of it, but this time there was a guy who was there operating the controls and showing how the Wright Brothers actually steered the plane by twisting the wings ever so slightly.  It was remarkably like a bicycle which made sense because the Wright Brothers were bicycle mechanics.  They applied those general mechanics to invent the concept of flight and it was a minor miracle that they managed to pull it off.  Essentially all the great planes on display at the Dayton Air Show were just further advancements of those basic concepts created by that Wright flyer.

It is a privilege to have so much aviation activity in Ohio and it is a testament to Dayton that everything started there.  Each year when the Dayton Air Show takes place at the international airport it is a special event because it was there and only there where everything started and it reminds me of how important and to what extent aviation plays in the promise of freedom around the world.  It is certainly something to be proud of for those of us who reside in such an aviation rich area.  It is always good to see such a celebration displayed without any pretense of apology for being so good.  There was just so much there that was good that it was overwhelming.

But what stood out for me was the simulation of the Doolittle Raid—where Americans volunteered to bomb Tokyo and show the Japanese that they weren’t safe within their homeland.  The attack had the needed effect psychologically on the Japanese people and it wasn’t long thereafter when they lost the war.  Because of Doolittle’s B-25 raid of Tokyo, Japan had to push out their carriers further from their homeland and it changed the way they conducted the war—which allowed for the tide to turn against them.  Aviation is the key to changing battlefield tactics and the politics which causes conflict—so it’s excessively important.   Similarly the F/A-18 Super Hornet has changed the fight against ISIS–the very threat of them operating in the Middle East forces the bad guys to operate in a clandestine way preventing them from bringing their evil out in open—which is wonderful.  Knowing all that, it is always special to see them up close and operating in all their glory—I never tire of their exhibition of raw power.

I mentioned the Chairman’s Club because it is in my opinion the best way to see the Dayton Air Show.  In that section are many of the people who are on the cutting edge of advancing aviation in our modern age and it’s good to spend time around them.  It is in that continuous march toward innovation in aviation that freedom continues to breath.  Without that natural growth America would lose its edge eventually to a country that invented the next great thing.  But when it comes to aviation, America has always been and will continue to be the absolute best.  Yes, Obama tried to kill our aviation industry with budget cuts while trying to destroy our economy with Obamacare and many other socialist concepts—but now we have a new lease on life.  Trump is president and the afterburners on the F-35 sounded just a bit louder this time—because the cloud of insurrection had been removed and suddenly the world of limitless aviation invention seemed boundless—and that was very nice to see.

Rich Hoffman

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