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Arlington Airport Appreciation Day carries on in spite of downpour

ARLINGTON — At this year's Arlington Airport Appreciation Day, Austin Guthrie got a chance to try out a seat that he hopes to fill as an adult.

"I wish I could fly this," said Guthrie, a 16-year-old Arlington resident, as he got comfortable in the pilot's seat of the Arlington Airlift helicopter on May 7. "Search and rescue can be dangerous, but it'd be thrilling to help out others."

Guthrie, an Arlington resident, has been interested in flying since he was a small child, and is looking at different branches of the military through which he could achieve his dream. He spoke with Airlift Northwest flight nurses, such as Tia Barrett and L.T. Arnold, about their jobs during the Arlington Airport's annual day of educational activities for the whole family.

"We have everything we need to take care of patients right here, including ventilation, defibrillation, suction, oxygen and an isolette stretcher," Barrett said. "We can handle cardiac and high-risk obstetrics. We all come in with a minimum of five years of training at an ICU or ER, but many of us have had far more to make us competitive for this job field."

Plenty of prospective pilots even younger than Guthrie found their enthusiasm for flying awakened by the annual Airport Appreciation Day, even as a low storm ceiling kept the day's planned flights on the ground through the morning.

This year marked 9-year-old Makenzie Pierce's first Airport Appreciation Day, even though 14-year-old sister Kayla and dad Casey had attended the year before. Casey Pierce, a Boeing worker who also hails from Arlington, expressed as much fondness for the event as his daughters.

"It's neat to see all the airplanes out here," Casey Pierce said. "I really like the World War II flyers."

Although Makenzie Pierce was anxious for the day's rain to let up, she still enjoyed sitting in the "cub car" and practicing how to work the rudimentary simulated aircraft controls.

Bill Brooking came from Snohomish with daughters Amelia and Dominique to their first Arlington Airport Appreciation Day this year, and in spite of the rain that occasionally splashed over the sides of the "paint an airplane" tarp, they were glad to have come.

"I want to fly when I get older," said 8-year-old Dominique Brooking, as she painted her small wooden airplane. "I like the big planes."

Cortney Bundy, who gave her age as "eight and a half," had never even been inside of an airplane before, so her dad Corui was more than happy to make the short trip from Marysville to the Arlington Airport. While the weather kept them grounded that morning, Cortney still had fun exploring the insides of the Arlington Airlift helicopter and Arlington Fire Department vehicles.

Linsay Lindbloom of Lake Stevens took hold of the controls of a flight simulator program inside of the Arlington Airport office, and her virtual crash-landings made Arlington grandparents Tom and Lenore Wright glad that the 5-year-old is still a few years away from being able to pilot an airplane in real life.

"This year is a first for her, but her big sister Lauren has come to the Airport Appreciation Day three times," Lenore Wright said. "There's a lot more people here than I thought there'd be, given the weather."

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