By Terry Stephens
One of Washington’s largest General Aviation Day celebrations is set for May 17 at Paine Field (PAE) in Everett. The show, presented by the Washington Pilots Association, will feature Young Eagles flights, displays of dozens of military and civilian aircraft, food booths and a chance to try flight simulation programs.
Admission is free to this 13th annual event, sponsored by the Paine Field Chapter of the Washington Pilots Association, Paine Field and the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce. Last year, thousands of visitors spent the day at the airport, enjoying the world of aviation and food, including meals from The Taste of Mukilteo’s local restaurants. Event proceeds will be donated to the Mukilteo Chamber’s Scholarship Fund.
General Aviation Day begins at 9 a.m. with the Paine Field firefighter’s $5 pancake breakfast. Last year’s record of nearly 1,000 meals provided a large donation to the Northwest Burn Foundation, which benefits from this year’s event. The Cascade High School jazz band will again provide music.
Aviation events begin at 10 a.m., said Jim Fries, who co-chaired this year’s WPA event with his wife, Marilyn. One of the day’s highlights will be free Young Eagles orientation flights for youths age 8 to 17. Last year, nearly 200 young guests received flights from pilots who volunteered their time and expenses to familiarize young people with flying. Other pilots will offer scenic flights for a fee.
The Cascade Warbirds made several flights at last year’s event, entertaining the crowd with military aircraft from World War II, Korea and Vietnam War eras. This year’s displays on the flight ramp will include the group’s vintage military planes, along with general aviation aircraft.
Also participating this year will be planes from the Flying Heritage Collection, which will open its new air museum at Paine Field June 6; planes from the Port Townsend Aero Museum; and displays by the Museum of Flight and the Historic Aircraft Foundation. Another air show participant will be Arlington Airport’s famed Blackjack Squadron, the nation’s largest civilian formation flying group.
Information booths and displays will be set up for Angel Flight West, Civil Air Patrol, Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival, KeyBank, Microsoft, Women in Aviation and the Children’s Air Corps Guild. The Future of Flight & Boeing Tour facility will also be represented, along with three flight schools at Paine Field, including Northwest Aviation Center, Northway Aviation and Regal Air.
In a large hangar, adjacent to the aircraft display area, will be general aviation displays, aviation movies and a Microsoft Flight Simulator hands-on exhibit. Everett Community College’s Aviation School at Paine Field will open for tours of its aviation maintenance technician training facility, where students learn to work on aircraft engines, as well as new composite technology.
For those who enjoy classic sports cars, the Tyee Triumph Club will once again display its cars, alongside a variety of Paine Field’s fire engines.
The WPA Paine Field chapter, the largest in the state, organized the original General Aviation Day event in 1995. Since then, tens of thousands of visitors have attended.
For more information, call the WPA special events hotline at 425-388-5125, ext. 5, or visit [http://www.wpa-paine.org].