Children got to experience plane flights and see local aircraft at the Arlington Airport as part of the Community Airport Day on Sept. 29.

Kids can see many of the planes that are brought out on display and participate in the activities and crafts available at the airport as well.

Usually the biggest draw is the free plane rides, organized by the nonprofit organization EAA Young Eagles which organizes local pilots to take kids 8 to 17 up into the air at the event.

Airport officials say the day is meant to help the community connect with their airport.

"The main thing is to say 'thanks' to the community and open up our doors, kind of like an open house, so that people can come out to the airport and meet pilots," said Marty Wray, operations manager at the Arlington Airport.

"If they want to experience flight, they get to do that. Especially with the kids," he said.

Helicopter rides were also available this year, although those were for charge.

Wray said, last year the Young Eagles provided rides to 120 kids and he expected that number to increase this year with 15 pilots donating their time and aircraft to the event.

Some of the kids may have never been on a plane before.

"That's the thing that starts an interest in aviation. Every pilot remembers their first flight," said Wray.

"We just love watching them. This may be their first flight and they come back with a smile every time," said Lorene Robinson, airport operations specialist at the airport and organizer for the event.

"Many of the kids return year after year, of course," she said.

Local parent Tanya Tishchuk said that she wanted to come out because her son enjoys the day.

"I think the kids love it, especially him, he loves the airplanes," she said.

Wray said that this year's event was going well.

"We've got a big turnout. We moved the date from last year to when everyone was back in school and I think that has made a difference," he said.

"We like to keep it a low-key community event, not huge, but we want to fly as many kids as we can," he said.

Robinson said that many organizations help put on the event each year.

"We would like to thank our sponsors that help make this possible," she said.

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