Fly-In Tries Something New At Lake Goodwin
The sun rose on day three of the Northwest EAA Fly-In in
Arlington, WA... and we mean, it actually rose, with sunlight and
everything. The low-hanging clouds and light rain that hung over
the first two days of this year's event were far, far away... and
the crowds responded, both in the air and on the ground.
"Well, HERE are all the airplanes we've been waiting for!" the
announcer said jubilantly over the field PA system early Friday
morning. "We've got planes everywhere, folks -- on downwind, on
base, and turning to final. And here's a lovely Vans plane, taxiing
by our booth right now... we may need a separate airport for all
the RVs here!"
In fact, as the field filled up with aircraft Friday, it seemed
to be an almost 50/50 mix between homebuilt and factory-built
airplanes. There are rare planes everywhere, too... a vintage
Fairchild radial, a Republic Seabee that's been completely remade
(and sporting a Chevy LS-6 engine -- the same you'll find in a new
'Vette), to a small, white, single-engine, low wing,
conventional-geared retract, sporting a slotted wing, of a type
I've never seen before.
(Editor's Note -- I've since been told by a
number of people -- including a few current and past owners of the
type -- that the plane I refer to (below) to is, of course, a
Globe Swift. What's more... I knew that, really I did... Rob
There were noticeably more people on the field, too, taking it
all in. From the food stands to the vendor displays, there wasn't
an area to be found that wasn't drawing a crowd.
Pilots also took advantage of the clear skies and calm winds...
particularly out along the "Light Flight" line, where a steady
stream of powered parachutes and ultralights buzzed through the
There is also a new event this year, that's rather "hidden away"
from the action at Arlington Muni -- but is perfectly in keeping
with the nature of Arlington.
For the first time at Arlington, there is a designated seaplane
area, where amphibs and floatplanes can splash into their natural
environment. Shuttles -- very NICE shuttles, new GMC sport-utes
provided by a local dealership -- ferry attendees from the airport
to Lake Goodwin, about eight miles away.
"Barbara [Tolbert] was down at Sun 'N Fun earlier this year, and
saw the seaplane area there," explained volunteer Tom Bohon, a
737-jockey by day who also happens to live on the shores of Lake
Goodwin. "We thought we'd try it out here this year, and see where
Alas, not much was going on when I arrived in the early
afternoon; only three planes were moored in the lake while I was
there, and nothing arrived or departed in that time.
(I had no less than five people tell me, however, how I had
"just missed the Hatz biplane on floats" that was on the lake
earlier. It is now my mission these two remaining days to find this
airplane -- that sounds just too cool for words.)
The volunteers at the seaplane area were optimistic about what
the weekend will hold, though, especially as word gets out about
the relatively little-known new attraction.
"We're hoping to see from 15-18 planes a day this weekend," said
As an endnote... one experience on the way back from the lake
reinforced the "folksy" nature of this fly-in: as I was riding back
on the shuttle to the airport, talking about planes with the six
other people onboard... the driver suddenly announced "we're making
a brief stop, to give these kids some business."
We pulled at a small lemonade stand -- the type you'd see in an
old "Leave It To Beaver" rerun, perhaps -- set up by the side of
the road, staffed by kids aged about 9-12 or so. And they went
wide-eyed when we pulled up... like a rock star's bus had just
pulled into a small dustbelt town.
Three pitchers of lemonade later, our thirsts were quenched (and
the kids were rolling in dough, as every single one of us kicked in
a little more than the 75 cent per cup asking price.) Perhaps best
of all... our moods matched the clear blue skies, and gorgeous
sunshine. It's hard not to smile when you're enjoying homemade
lemonade, after all.
And the best news of all... the weather is expected to hold
through the weekend. So get out here! And if you head out to the
lake... be sure to stop by a certain lemonade stand, too.