Free flights at Arlington Airport

ARLINGTON — Airport Appreciation Day offers a chance for area residents to learn what the municipal airport does in the community.

Best of all, kids ages 7 through 17 can get a free airplane ride.

The annual event is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Arlington Airport. Organizers are hoping for a nice day, because rain could cancel some events.

Parental permission is required to fly on a two-seat or four-seat small plane. Registration runs until 1 p.m. and preference is give to first-time flyers.

Other activities include airport and aircraft displays, along with Federal Aviation Administration, state Department of Transportation and Civil Air Patrol booths. Tours of police and fire vehicles are offered and entertainment, face painting and chalk art are planned.

In addition, food and glider rides are set to be offered for sale.

The free flights are offered through the national Young Eagles program, and those who take a ride will be awarded a certificate from Young Eagles chairman and movie star Harrison Ford. The Young Eagles program was launched in 1992 to give kids a taste of what it’s like to fly in a general aviation airplane.

About 25 pilots plan to donate their time and the cost of flying, said event organizer Barbara Tolbert, who also is director of the Arlington Fly-In.

“The pilots are really great,” Tolbert said. “Among those participating are some who got their first plane rides with Young Eagles.”

Not only is the day a chance for the airport to say thanks to its neighbors, it’s an opportunity for the community to understand the recreational and economic assets the airport brings to Arlington.

“We hope people will come on down and get a closer look,” Tolbert said.

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