Children climbed in planes and took flight at Arlington’s annual Community Airport Day that was held on Sept. 28.
Free flights and other activities are part of the event that is meant to open up the Arlington Municipal Airport up for the day.
“The airport is a community resource and a lot of times it feels, because of the security regulation, that it is closed off. So it’s really important to share that resource with the community,” said Kristin Banfield, communications manager for the city of Arlington.
The event was the first time that Daniel Woolman and his family came down to the airport, even though they lived nearby.
“We’ve missed the Fly-Ins and other stuff so this is the first time we’ve been able to come down here,” he said.
“It definitely piqued the kids' interest in aviation and I think it’s really cool.”
With good weather, Banfield said that the event had a good turnout this year.
“Super busy and really excited to see so much of the community out here. They’re checking out everything that we have,” she said.
Community Airport Day includes displays of small airplanes, crafts and meeting with local pilots.
“People come over and see the search and rescue helicopter, the police department and the fire department,” said Banfield.
The event is also known for the free flights from the EAA Young Eagles available to those ages 8 to 17.
“I love to see all the little ones and they’re so fascinated by all the airplanes. It’s so cool to introduce them to flight,” said Banfield.
Ron Penix brought his granddaughter to the event for her first flight.
“This is fantastic that they put this on and go through all the trouble and expense to share their love of flying with the kids,” he said.
These days planes and airports are more locked behind security, said Banfield, so kids don’t get to experience aviation like they used to.
“People don’t get to be up close and personal to planes anymore. My generation was just able to walk into the airport, watch the airplanes take off and land. Pilots would take you into the cockpit. Now with all the security rules you can’t do that anymore,” Banfield said.
“For kids to be able to be up close to the planes, get to fly and touch the planes is fantastic,” she said.
The free flights are primarily provided by pilots from the region.
“The support we have from all the local pilots is great,” said Banfield.
“They donate their time, they donate their fuel and they do this out of the love of flying,” she said.
Banfield said the airport staff and city staff appreciate everyone who helps with the event.
“Thank you everyone who came out to help and everyone who came out to enjoy,” she said.