General Aviation Day draws crowds

  • By John Wolcott SCBJ Editor
  • Wednesday, April 30, 2008 5:09pm

The Paine Field Chapter of the Washington Pilots Association will present its 13th annual General Aviation Day at Paine Field May 17, co-sponsored by Paine Field and the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce.

Coinciding with Armed Forces Day, the free event also will feature vintage military aircraft from the Cascade Warbirds, Flying Heritage Collection and the Historic Aircraft Foundation, along with dozens of civilian general aviation planes.

It has always been a popular attraction for families as well as aviation enthusiasts, providing a variety of activities that will include free Young Eagles flights for youths 8 to 17 and special fees for scenic flights for adults.

The day begins at 9 a.m. with $5 pancake breakfasts by Paine Field’s firefighters, with all proceeds going to the Northwest Burn Foundation. Last year’s event sold nearly 1,000 meals. The Cascade High School jazz band will again provide music.

At 10 a.m. the general aviation events begin, said Jim Fries, who co-chaired this year’s event with his wife, Marilyn. Young Eagles flights will be provided all day. Nearly 200 young people took off for their first flight experience last year, flying with pilots who volunteer their time and donate their expenses to familiarize young people with flying.

The Cascade Warbirds made several flights at last year’s event, entertaining the crowd with military aircraft from the World War II, Korea and Vietnam eras. This year’s displays on the flight ramp will include planes from Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection, which will open its new air museum at Paine Field June 6.

Other aircraft will fly in from the Port Townsend Aero Museum and Arlington Airport’s famed Blackjack Squadron, the nation’s largest civilian formation flying group, will be on hand.

Information booths and displays will be set up for Angel Flight West, Civil Air Patrol, Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival, FALLS Cooperative Preschool, Totem Council of the Girl Scouts, Key Bank, Microsoft, Purrfect Pals, Women in Aviation, Children’s Air Corps Guild, Eastside Family Health Center, the Future of Flight &Boeing Tour facility and three flight schools at Paine Field, including Northwest Aviation Center, Northway Aviation and Regal Air.

A large hangar adjacent to the aircraft exhibit area will be filled with general aviation displays, aviation movies and a Microsoft Flight Simulator hands-on presentation.

At 11:30 a.m. choice menu items from the Taste of Mukilteo’s array of local restaurants will be served, with proceeds to be donated to the Mukilteo Chamber’s Scholarship Fund.

Close to the exhibit area, Everett Community College’s Aviation School at Paine Field will be open for tours of its aviation maintenance technician training facility, where students learn to work on engines as well as new composite aviation technology.

For those who enjoy classic sports cars, the Tyee Triumph Club will once again be displaying member’s vintage vehicles, alongside a variety of Paine Field’s fire engines.

The WPA’s Paine Field chapter, the largest in the state, was the original organizer of the General Aviation Day event in 1995. Since then, tens of thousands of visitors have attended.

For more information, call the event hotline at 425-388-5125 x5 or visit the Washington Pilots Association site at www.wpa-paine.org.