Stunt pilot Doug Jardine makes some spectacular moves in his Sbach 342 at the 2012 Arlington Fly-In. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Stunt pilot Doug Jardine makes some spectacular moves in his Sbach 342 at the 2012 Arlington Fly-In. (Dan Bates / Herald file)

Meet aviation hobbyists at the 50th annual Arlington Fly-In

The festival at the Arlington Municipal Airport promotes flying general and sport aircraft.

Like most pilots, Jim McGauhey really loves flying. And he has the added enjoyment of piloting a plane he helped build.

“It has always been a bucket-list item,” McGauhey said of building his own plane.

It took his group of five a couple of years of working many nights and weekends to finish the Zenith CH 650, a lightweight, two-seat aircraft that he likens to a sports car with wings.

They finished the plane at Harvey Field in Snohomish in a building that serves as headquarters for Chapter 84 of the Experimental Aircraft Association. McGauhey is the chapter president this year.

While now fascinated with flying, McGauhey wasn’t always that way. He once owned a dive shop in California and his job was his passion. He added flying after taking lessons partly to help an instructor friend who needed the work. McGauhey earned his pilot’s license and his friend later became a corporate pilot.

These days, McGauhey likes working on his bucket list and also promoting general aviation. The EAA has a Young Eagles program that provides free airplane rides for kids age 8-17 and also helps them begin pilot training.

In addition to promoting aviation, McGauhey works to counter some of the myths about flying.

“I want to dispel the idea that airplanes are rich-boy toys,” he said.

He equates flying to boat ownership, and said that forming a group helps make the costs of things like maintenance and hangar fees quite reasonable.

“Most planes are owned by middle-class people,” he said. “It’s a good hobby.”

McGauhey and hundreds of other pilots will join thousands of visitors and aviation buffs at the Arlington Fly-In on July 6-8. The event, now in its 50th year, is a celebration of general and sport aviation held at Arlington’s Municipal Airport.

Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert said the event started with a group of people flying experimental aircraft who would stop in Arlington while on their way to an air show in Abbotsford, B.C. “Now it’s the third-largest (general) aviation event,” Tolbert said. She said about 30,000 people attended the event last year, with nearly 1,000 airplanes.

Tolbert, who is a pilot herself, said her father had an airport business for experimental aircraft and encouraged the growth of the event.

She now works with some 480 volunteers to make the event successful, but said she can always use more volunteer help.

Tolbert said there will be a variety of events and activities all three days of the fly-in, with a special focus on pilot education and flying contests. A schedule of events is available at

The Arlington Fly-In

Friday evening includes an air show followed by a fireworks display.

Saturday includes an afternoon air show and military parade, and glowing hot air balloons at night.

Sunday has a variety of flying skills contests, including one for flour bombing.

Tolbert says those with tickets can come and go for different events, and that children under age 16 will be admitted for free.

She notes that there will be an outdoor movie and classes on things like flying drones.

Also planned is an enclosed area where people can try flying drones and not have to worry about them getting out of control and flying off.

Helicopter and biplane rides can be taken for a fee, and EAA Chapters like McGauhey’s group will offer free rides for kids.

If you go

Date: July 6-8

Location: Arlington Airport, 4700 188th St. NE

Phone: 360-435-5857


Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 84

Offers a free airplane ride for youngsters age 8-17

Location: Harvey Field, Snohomish

Phone: 425-750-1509


Washington North Coast Magazine

This article is featured in the summer issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to for more information.

Talk to us

More in Life

Classic cars make the loop during the newly restored Cruzin Colby Sunday afternoon in downtown Everett on May 28, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Vintage cars will rule the road at Everett’s Cruzin’ to Colby

The annual show this weekend makes downtown “the place to play on Memorial Day.”

Close up Beautiful pink Rhododendron
Last chance to prune spring flowering shrubs and perennials

If you wait and prune these spring bloomers in the fall or winter, you will cut off all of next year’s flower buds.

Art Alexakis of Everclear performs during the 2012 Summerland Tour at Riverbend Music Center on July 11, 2012, in Cincinnati. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Art Alexakis and Everclear joins fellow 1990s alt-rockers Tonic for a show May 28 in downtown Everett.

A featured exhibit at the show will be a 500-pound Elestial Amethyst specimen from the Bahia Mine in Brazil.
Gem show this weekend in Monroe offers family fun

A featured exhibit at the show will be a 500-pound Elestial Amethyst specimen from the Bahia Mine in Brazil.

What is diverticulitis and what can I do about it?

People older than 40 should have a screening colonoscopy to determine whether they have this intestinal condition, which can lead to serious medical problems.

Photos by Karina Andrew/Whidbey News-Times 

The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House will open to public visitors Memorial Day weekend.
A landmark steeped in 19th century history reopens on Whidbey

Beginning May 28, you can venture inside one of the state’s oldest buildings: The Jacob and Sarah Ebey House, which dates from the 1850s.

Caption: Incorporating frozen vegetables into your menu plan is a fast and cost-effective way to save money on rising food costs.
The secrets of cheap meals: frozen veggies and slow cookers

They not only stretch your food budget, but also timesaving godsends for busy parents. Here are three recipes to try.

Navigating the rough, often scary seas of a hospital stay

After helping a friend who underwent major surgery, Paul Schoenfeld reflects on ways to cope for patients and their loved ones.

The Chinese fringe tree is an excellent choice for the small garden. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Chinese fringe tree

This reliable and easy to grow small tree is covered with clusters of fringed white flowers in early summer.

Photo Caption: This unconventional table was made in the 1980s by an unconventional artist, Jeff Lederman. It sold for $4,750 at Main Auction Galleries in Cincinnati.
Unconventional Ohio artist designed this unconventional table

Plus answers to questions about antique samplers, Herman Miller furniture, doorknob collecting and more.

Melissa Batson unfurls a Groundhog Day flag designed by her niece Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at her home in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Flags tell Monroe woman’s transgender journey — and more

The flagpole in her front yard is a visual for Facebook posts about who Melissa Batson is and how she got there.

The 2022 Kia Sorento Hybrid has three rows of seats, including middle-row captain’s chairs, for a total capacity of six passengers. (Manufacturer photo)
Kia Sorento Hybrid SUV adds appealing new features for 2022

The compact crossover is now available with all-wheel drive, and there’s a new plug-in hybrid model.