Aviation History Book Review: Dayton Air Show | HistoryNet

Aviation History Book Review: Dayton Air Show

By Philip Handleman
4/2/2018 • Aviation History Magazine

Dayton Air Show: A Photographic Celebration

photos by Ty Greenlees and text by Timothy R. Gaffney, Orange Frazer Press, Wilmington, Ohio, 2008, $24.95

This gem of a book, a boon to hopelessly addicted airshow fans, was produced locally and fittingly released at the July 2008 event. Dayton Air Show is the product of a collaboration between two men who are perfectly suited to capture all that is glorious in Dayton’s annual aerial extravaganza. For 21 years Ty Greenlees and Timothy Gaffney teamed up to cover the show; this book is the result of their intimate knowledge and longtime coverage.

Greenlees, an award-winning photographer with the Dayton Daily News, is also a private pilot who has managed to combine his passions to wondrous effect. His special appreciation for the subtleties of flight has enhanced his aviation photos. Greenlees’ more than 200 photographs constitute a collage of the whole airshow circuit over the past two decades for virtually all the big-name performers, including cutting-edge military aircraft and top warbird restorations that have dazzled hordes of spectators. Profiting from special access to the runway sidelines as well as exclusive air-to-air opportunities, Greenlees has created a magnificent portrait, from raspy-throated biplanes to thunderous jet fighters in a beautifully laid-out format worthy of a glitzy coffee-table keepsake.

Gaffney, a journalist and private pilot who served as a Dayton aviation reporter until retiring in 2006, got to climb into some of the hottest planes around, including a MiG-29. Gaffney introduces the subject with an informative essay on the show’s heritage and Dayton’s claim to fame as the birthplace of flight. Not only was it home to the Wright brothers, but through the 20th century much aeronautical progress has resulted from re – search conducted at nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

An added treat is a foreword by master aerobat Sean Tucker, who points out that the goal of his amazing “skydance”—a spectacular series of trademark flips and twists—is to “inspire people to dream.” He remarks that when he is torque-rolling at full throttle in front of audiences like those at the Dayton Air Show, all his senses come to life and he feels something powerful permeating the air, which he calls “the incredible magic of flight.” Dayton Air Show is a touchstone for anyone who wants to connect with that magic.


Originally published in the January 2009 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here

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