First “Splash In” Set for Arlington NWEEA Fly-In

First “Splash In” Set for Arlington NWEEA Fly-In

By Terry Stephens,

A seaplane “splash-in” will be a new attraction at the 38th Annual Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association Fly-In at Arlington Municipal Airport July 5-9. Other features will be air shows, helicopter rides, famous warbirds, trade show exhibits, pilot programs and a “sport pilot mall” spotlighting new sport-flying aircraft.0606033_1.jpg

Known for years as the third largest general aviation event in the nation, after AirVenture Oshkosh and Florida’s Sun ‘n Fun, the five-day air show draws more than 50,000 visitors each year. This year, members of the Washington Sea Plane Pilots Association will be splashing in at the newly opened Lake Goodwin Resort July 7-9.

“Lake Goodwin is now one of the state’s designated seaplane bases,” explained Barb Tolbert, executive director of the NWEAA Fly-In.

Shuttle buses will be available those days for the seven-mile trip between the lake and the airport. Also, visitors at the fly-in are invited to visit the resort’s temporary seaplane base. Anchored buoys will be provided for tie-downs and there are two 150-foot-long docks available. A full-service store and deli is open at the resort and meals are available at the nearby Road House Bar & Grill. There are several cabins for rent at the resort as well as RV and tent sites.

Silver State Helicopters, a flight academy based at the Arlington airfield, will be on hand for the second year to provide helicopter flights for scenic views of the Cascade Mountains and the valleys and rivers of Snohomish County all five days.

Rows of colorful aircraft in various shapes, sizes and colors fill acres of grass parking space at the 2005 NWEAA Fly-In, while thousands of visitors watch an afternoon air show.

Rows of colorful aircraft in various shapes, sizes and colors fill acres of grass parking space at the 2005 NWEAA Fly-In, while thousands of visitors watch an afternoon air show.

Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection of rare and meticulously restored World War II warbirds will be on display for the second year, with free shuttle rides offered from the air show’s display tent to the nearby hangars housing the rest of the rare warbird collection. The collection includes a P-40 Warhawk, P-51 Mustang, F6F-5 Hellcat and British Spitfire.

Three-hour afternoon air shows will be a major attraction once again. Polished flying performances by a variety of pilots will include the Blackjack Squadron, a civilian formation flying team. The shows are top draws each year for crowds that visit the NWEAA event.

“Each year is just a little different,” Tolbert said.

Hundreds of aircraft flying in for the annual event will present many photo opportunities. The aircraft will include everything from experimental homebuilts to some of the latest general aviation aircraft, privately-owned historic military planes and new aircraft just coming into the market.

This year, the fledgling sport-flying realm will play a major role at the air show. The event’s Sport Pilot Mall will showcase many of the new FAA-certified sport planes being built for the new category that are beginning to enter the marketplace.

“For the first time in the Northwest, people will be able to do side-by-side comparisons of lightweight sport pilot aircraft, take demonstration flights, talk with experts, find literature and explore the whole scope of sport flying. We’ll have everything from small Cessna models to ultralights that qualify for sport aviation,” she said.

Tolbert expects to see sport aviation generating tremendous interest in the Pacific Northwest. That expectation has led to plans to break ground this fall for a $2 million Sport Aviation Park at the airport.

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