Arlington Fly-In gets ready to soar

ARLINGTON — The Arlington Fly-In is planning two new demonstrations this year, one in the sky and one on the ground.

The new aerial performance incorporates airplanes and pyrotechnics, with fireworks set to launch from two planes, giving them tails of sparks as they loop through the sky after the sun goes down Saturday.

The second new show features the Seattle Cossacks Motorcycle Stunt and Drill Team riding vintage motorcycles. It’s set for 5 p.m. Friday.

The Fly-In is scheduled to run Thursday through Saturday at Arlington Municipal Airport. Events and exhibits begin each day at 8 a.m., with air shows starting at 2 p.m. The day wraps up with an outdoor movie when it gets dark.

Tickets are $15 per person for those arriving by car, and $10 per person for those arriving by plane. Children 15 and younger get in free.

Arlington Fly-In Executive Director Barbara Tolbert, who is the city’s mayor, said proceeds go toward aviation education and scholarships. The Fly-In is run by a nonprofit organization that relies on about 385 volunteers to put together Arlington’s largest annual event.

The Fly-In usually draws pilots and planes from about 20 states, Tolbert said. More than 30,000 people attended last year.

“I just think these are great traditions and they remind us of how great Arlington is,” Tolbert said. “And we can kind of showcase that to the world, especially after Oso. We’re recovering. We need to come back to regular events and regular business.”

John Smutny, the air operations manager for the Fly-In, aims to bring in a variety of aircraft, from aerobatic planes to hot-air balloons to vintage military craft. He wants there to be something for everyone.

“Airshows are a fantastic event for families,” he said. “Everybody has their favorites, so we try to rotate acts through.”

Planning each year’s event kicks off in August, less than a month after the previous Fly-In wraps up, he said.

This year’s Fly-In includes two themed days. Thursday is kids day, with face painting and a bouncy house, among other activities. Friday is vintage day, featuring airplanes and cars from the 1920s and 1930s.

Volunteers at Camp Adams, a section of the Fly-In that is set up like a military camp, plan to showcase vintage tanks with mock battles at 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Tolbert said.

A hot air-balloon glow also is expected to light the sky on Friday night, weather permitting.

The Arlington Fly-In has been a yearly event in the city since 1969.

“If anybody has any interest in aviation, from remote control to flying for the airlines, they can find something there,” Smutny said.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439, kbray@heraldnet.com.

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