Arlington Fly-In is an air show and much more

There’s so much to experience at this year’s Arlington Fly-In that it’s enough to make the birds jealous.

Try kicking some moon rocks during a virtual journey into space. Spend an evening basking in the beauty of six glowing hot air balloons. Join the pilot for a flight in a B-25 Pacific Prowler.

In its 41st year, the Arlington Fly-In is billed as the third largest sport aviation event in the United States where visitors can explore more than 1,000 aircraft but also experience the huge variety of things that fly, such as experimental aircraft and NASA rockets.

For instance, the Saturday evening Hot Air Balloon Night Glow was expanded to six balloons this year and visitors can get near enough to watch them inflate then sit back and watch their brilliance dance against the night sky.

Fly-In executive director Barbara Tolbert called the balloon glow as visual a treat as the Fourth of July without anything blowing up — well, except the balloons. Tolbert cautioned that visitors must arrive before 8 p.m.

“It’s the mystery and wonder of aviation and a chance to get up close and personal with it,” Tolbert said.

But let’s not forget the air shows, which run from 3 to 5 p.m. today and Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

During these air shows you might catch veteran pilot and performer John Mrazek along with his Harvard Mark IV, “Pussycat II,” doing his dazzling aerial ballet, billed as a show with “lots of noise, smoke and skill.”

Or perhaps you’ll see a retired Airbus A320 captain flying a Russian built Sukhoi SU-29, or spy the grass-roots flying of Matt Groth in his Decathlon — a large plane with great visibility from the ground.

“The Pacific Northwest is a true hub for experimental aircraft and we wanted to show all the different ways people can fly,” Tolbert said.

This weekend the Fly-In is also being billed as the Pacific Northwest’s largest display of former military vehicles and weapons that includes a complete Army and Marine encampment with more than 100 vehicles from WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Sunday at the Fly-In is veterans appreciation day kicking off with the Cascade Warbirds squadron performing a “max effort” flying demonstration. There’s also a special tribute parade and air show. Admission on Sunday is free to past and present U.S. armed forces veterans.

Families can watch two family-rated movies on the 25-foot outdoor movie screen at the airport’s Runway Theater. The movies, “The Legend of Pancho Barnes” and “Space Cowboys,” begin at dusk Friday and Saturday.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424, goffredo@heraldnet.com.

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