BURLINGTON — Though the stormy day may have grounded the planes Saturday at the Port of Skagit’s Community Day, children were still able to take part in aviation activities.
Private pilot Becky Goodell organized the activities, which included a rubber band-powered rocket launcher to teach kids about aerodynamics and a chance to build model propellers.
“We want to inspire youth,” she said. “We want the kids to consider aviation and see that it is in reach.”
The idea behind the day is to give the community an opportunity to come out to Skagit Regional Airport and learn more about what the airport does, said Andrew Entrikin, the of Port of Skagit’s community outreach administrator .
“There’s a lot more happening here than meets the eye,” he said.
Entrikin said he would like the public to learn more about the economic impact of the airport, which has more than 500 air cargo packages come through each year.
The airport is not usually open to the public, said Sara Young, the port’s planning facility director.
“There are incredible resources here and we want the community to have interaction and access to them,” she said.
Goodell said it is important that there is a vibrant general aviation community because there is a shortage of pilots worldwide.
“We need a community of well-trained, healthy pilots,” she said.
Most of the planes featured were provided by the Heritage Flight Museum. Guests got up-close looks at a replica of an A6A2 Zero, a Cessna L-19/0-1 Bird Dog and other planes from the museum’s collection.
Groups at the event included Bay View Chapter 818 of the Experimental Aircraft Association, which offers kids free plane rides, the Civil Air Patrol and Boy Scouts of America Troop 47.
Civil Air Patrol, a nonprofit and auxiliary of the Air Force, brought its cadets to help out for the day.
“The cadets are like Boy Scouts with airplanes,” Stephen Wallace of the Civil Air Patrol said.
Wallace, who was once a cadet himself, said the program develops youth leaders and aims to keep them interested in aviation, with many teenagers in the program going on to military careers.
This year was JoAnn Hardin and her son Zachary Hardin’s third year attending Community Day.
Zachary, an 11-year-old who is a part of Troop 47, said he took his first ride in an airplane at last year’s event.
“I want to go back up in the plane, but I want to be in the front seat this time,” he said.