ARLINGTON – Those are not UFO’s, they are drones.
That’s a message Mayor Barb Tolbert wants to get out before the Arlington Fly-In this year.
The Fly-In is always special, but this year it’s “golden.” The event at the Arlington Airport July 6-8 turns 50 this year.
As you might expect, some fun new things will take place.
Top on the list is a new Drone Show Friday and Saturday nights at about 9:45. There is nothing drone about watching them light up the sky. “We wanted to do something forward-looking – not just look back,” she said. Tolbert said about 60 drones will be scripted to music for a 15-minute show. She called it a safer version of a fireworks show.
“It’s the evolution of digital fireworks,” she said. Tobert said it is an effort to get young people in the electronic generation more interested in the Fly-In. Drones are used for crop dusting, forest fire prevention and more, she added.
For those who like to fly drones, there will be a cage where that can be done safely, without getting in the way of the real planes. There will be a Boot Camp for people to learn to fly and race them within the 40 foot by 60 foot netting. You can also learn how to get a license to fly them.
Joining them Saturday night will be the annual Hot Air Balloon Glow, where it will be twice as big as last year with seven. A big birthday cake balloon also is planned. Cost is $20 per carload after 6 p.m. that day.
The big acrobatic air shows will be at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Warbirds will be featured.
Another new feature will be a Street Fair as the one downtown that did coincide with it now is one week later, saving time commuting between the two. Both are sold out, despite the scheduling conflict. The Fly-In also will have its regular features: Aviation exhibits, military vehicles, parades, workshops, food, live music, movies and hundreds of aircraft in all shapes and sizes.
It costs $17 to enter, but there are three-day passes and prices for campers and pilots available. Those age 15 and younger are free, if accompanied by an adult. Parking is free, but no pets please.
The 50th anniversary event will feature four distinct areas:
•New “street fair” area: For artisan and non aviation exhibitors, featuring about 40 booths with items such as wood work, clothing, art, jewelry and crafts. Kid-friendly activities such as face painting and fun balloon shapes will also be a part of the mix. •Aviation vendor area: New expanded area with easy flow and three sizes of spaces from an information booth to displaying airplanes and aircraft.
•Light flight area: It has been relocated and expanded and will also have its own runway.
•Food vendors: There will be an expanded set of food trucks and traditional food vendors.
Camp Adams also returns with its military vehicles.
The North Pacific Military Corps, an informal assembly of regional military history enthusiasts, serves as coordinator for Camp Adams. Participants will be available to share information about vehicles and displays.
Major groups include: Puget Sound Military Vehicle Collectors Club, Western Command Historical Society, Flying Heritage Collection, Washington National Guard, U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, North Cascade Military Collectors
The camp will be open all day Friday and Saturday, but from noon to 1 p.m. the NPMC will conduct demonstrations of equipment including simulated combat and tank operations. Tank rides will follow for a limited number of people.
At about 6 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Camp vehicles will participate in a Pass-in-Review Parade along one taxiway.
Camp Adams is located immediately inside the Fly-in main entrance. There will be more than 100 vehicles, weapons and displays. Anyone seeking a tank ride should contact the Fly-in office.
Camp Adams is the largest public gathering of former military vehicles, aircraft, weapons, and equipment displays in the West where visitors can see and learn about the tools used during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and other conflicts.
Interactive workshops on many areas of aviation run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Experts will answer questions about building an airplane, whether it be plans or kit built. Others have knowledge about tube and fabric, aluminum or composite materials. Many have knowledge on engine choices and avionics. There will be samples of builds in progress, and a chance to learn how to cleco and rivet some aluminum. In just 20 minutes people will be able to make their own airplane and take it home. All materials provided, and good for ages 12 and older.
Experimental Aircraft Association is not just about homebuilding. There are divisions on Warbirds, ultralights, aerobatics, IFR flying and more. EAA flies about 500 Young Eagles each year, giving free plane rides to youth ages 8-17. The band Split Personality will perform Saturday night. The Fly-Mart is back, basically a flea market for all things aviation. And, as always, outdoor movies will end the day. Friday, it’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Saturday it’s “Always.”
Experimental planes aren’t as big as they once were at the Fly-In.
“People don’t take the time to build them like they used to,” Tolbert said.