By Terry Stephens
The swirling, twisting, precision maneuvers of the Red Eagles aerobatic flying team will be a new crowd pleaser at the 39th Annual Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In at Arlington Municipal Airport, July 11-15.
“Magic in the Air,” the team’s spectacular biplane show, blends low-level solos, flat spins, torque rolls and formation flying. The Talon Eagles used in the show are among only five Eagle Is in the world. They’re known for their maneuverability, an unusual double swept-wing design and an unforgettable engine roar.
The Cascade Warbirds, a group of private pilots with an array of historic military aircraft, join the Red Eagles this year. The group returns after a two-year absence, opening the daily air shows July 13-15. The group takeoff will include T-28 Trojans, SNJ-5 trainers and a Yak 11 fighter. Many of the group’s 130 vintage military planes will be on static display, in honor of veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Known for years as the third largest general aviation event in the nation, after Oshkosh’s AirVenture and Florida’s Sun ‘n Fun, the five-day NWEAA show draws more than 50,000 visitors each year.
“We’ll have the largest gathering of warbirds and antique military vehicles in the Pacific Northwest this year,” said Barb Tolbert, executive director of the fly-in. “We’ll also have a major Harley-Davidson display for the first time, a Friday night balloon show, night fireworks, vendor tents and a variety of food.”
Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection of rare historical fighter planes, based at Arlington Airport, will again provide ground displays as well as a flyby of a 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny and a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, on July 14 and 15.
Another new performance in this year’s program will be a biplane aerobatic performance by the son of famed air show stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker. Eric Tucker, who soloed in gliders at 14 and in a Pitts S-2B at 16, toured as the left wingman with the Stars of Tomorrow formation flight demonstration team. At Arlington, as part of his national tour, he’ll be presenting the Columbia Aviation Safety Tour on July 14 and 15, flying a Columbia 400SL to demonstrate techniques for recovering from unusual flight situations. The program will also promote Tucker’s specialized Executive Pilot Awareness Training School’s flight safety courses.
Aerial duels between Russian Yak fighter aircraft, flown by the father-and-son aerobatic team of Bud and Ross Granley, are always some of the most popular segments of the air show. The Arlington-based pilots of the Black Jack Squadron will demonstrate their noted flying formations, involving up to a dozen planes.
After the air show, the Cascade Warbirds and other flight participants will close the event by parading past the crowd lining the airport’s taxiway. A long line of vintage military vehicles will follow, as part of this year’s expanded presence of military vehicles and weapons, presented by the Puget Sound Military Vehicle Collectors Club.
Visitors will see more than 80 WWII, Korea and Vietnam era vehicles, including jeeps, scout cars, half-tracks, large trucks, mechanical mules, ambulances, a tank and anti-tank cannons. A mobile military history museum will display pistols, rifles, machine guns, mortars, rocket launchers and other memorabilia.
On Sunday, July 15, all active-duty military and retired veterans will have free access to the fly-in. Veterans will be invited to ride on military vehicles during the post-air show parade.
The air show’s outdoor Runway Theater will show three films during the event, including “Stealth,” “Flyboys” and “Astronaut Farmer.”
Silver State Helicopters, a flight academy based at the Arlington airfield, will be on hand for its third year to provide helicopter flights for scenic views of the Cascade Mountains and the valleys and rivers of Snohomish County.
The Washington Sea Plane Pilots are planning their second annual Splash-In at nearby Lake Goodwin Resort, July 12-15. A landing channel, dock-space and anchored buoys will be provided. This year will include the first annual Arlington Seaplane Base Brat Burn, Friday evening, July 13, on the lake’s shore.
For more information, visit [http://www.nweaa.org].