Fly-In draws planes, people to Arlington

ARLINGTON — One thing that regular visitors to the Arlington Fly-In noticed this year is how much the five-day event has grown over the course of its 43 years.

Children from Marysville, Arlington and beyond showed up at 9 a.m. on July 7, the first day of the Fly-In, as part of an Arlington Assembly of God youth trip.

“They had weapons I hadn’t seen before,” said Joshua Chacko of Pioneer Elementary in Arlington, who was returning for his second year and enjoyed the display of military weapons and vehicles.

Hazik Sakin, a first-time attendee from Allen Creek Elementary in Marysville, likewise loved seeing the Navy boats and gushed about “lots of cool stuff” at the Fly-In, even if he would have preferred more shade and cooler temperatures during the day.

“It’s a lot of fun to see all the aircraft and speak with the folks who own them,” said Misha Griffith, a fellow-first-timer who will be attending Marysville-Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools in the fall.

Pastor Brandie Broadhead noted that the children also enjoyed learning about the inner workings of various aircraft.

“It’s a very cost-effective family event,” Broadhead said July 7. “Since kids are free, we only paid for a few tickets and haven’t had to spend any more money today. You can have fun in the summer sun even on a tight budget.”

Arlington resident and German national Peter Gschwender’s 1960 Focke Wulf Luftwaffe trainer proved popular with Broadhead’s group and other children, in part because of the “Miss Piggi” painted in its nose. The character is a German pronunciation pun, since the plane was manufactured by Piaggio.

“My property overlooks the airport, which is why I bought it in 1997,” said Gschwender, who purchased his plane from the German Air Force in 1995 after they replaced it with a more fuel-efficient model. “From the time I was 2 years old, I would just look into the sky, and as a teenager, I started flying gliders. This Fly-In has to be the third-largest in the country, and what I love is its camaraderie, of one guy talking to another.”

Marysville’s Seth Darling, a 15-year-old member of the Civil Air Patrol based out of Paine Field, helped direct pedestrian and aircraft traffic at the Fly-In, and appreciated the event for educating attendees about aerospace technology.

“Seeing it in person, as opposed to in the classroom, gets into kids’ heads and hopes and dreams,” said Darling, a first-time attendee who joined CAP two years ago because he wanted to become a pilot. “It’s a really good way to get the public interested in this field.”

Marysville brothers Ryan and Evan Krautkremer joined fellow youngster Jason Macki in checking out the Paul Allen Flying Heritage Collection on site. The brothers’ mom, Diana Thompson, noted that they’d only missed one Fly-In in the past nine years.

“We like checking out the warbirds,” Thompson said. “This is a destination for us, every year.”

“There are more planes and bigger stunts every year,” Ryan Krautkremer said.

Sue Massingale started “hanging out” at the Arlington Airport in 1979, but this year marked her first visit to the Fly-In in 10 years. She now works as the office manager at T&E International in Marysville, which had a tent at this year’s Fly-In touting its hangar-building services.

“The organization has become so impressive,” Massingale said. “Maybe it’s because they’ve made it so kid-friendly, but they’re turned it into one heck of a community event. As a kid, I loved seeing the planes, and as an adult, I love meeting the people here.”

The Fly-In continues from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10; and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 11.

Admission for adults is $15 per day on Wednesday and Thursday, $18 per day on Friday-Sunday or $40 for a weekly pass.

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