BREMERTON — For Kitsap County aviation enthusiasts, this weekend presents a real treat.
Nearly 500 aircraft will descend on Bremerton National Airport for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s West Coast Fly-In. Pilots and families will be coming in all day Friday, Aug. 19 and depart Saturday, Aug. 20.
It is the biggest scheduled civilian airplane gathering on the West Coast this year, and second only to the legendary airshow at Oshkosh, Wisconson, staged each July. As of Aug. 16, more than 1,600 people had registered.
The Fly-In is an opportunity to see rare and historically significant airplanes. Those aircraft range from the mundane — such as a Cessna 172 — to the bizarre (a rare Gweduck amphibian aircraft with three overhead engines) to a legendary and historically significant North American B-25 Liberator (also known as the Mitchell, named in honor of the American aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell). The B-25 will also be offering fundraising “revenue rides.” The Gweduck, while misspelled (the correct local spelling is “geoduck”) is named for a large species of Puget Sound-area clam, will be on static display throughout the event.
Pilots and their families flying in to the event will get to see the region’s spectacular mountain ranges, fjords, glaciers and the many waterways of the Kitsap Peninsula. Once on the ground, they will have the option to see float planes and the Navy ships berthed in Bremerton, including the carrier John C. Stennis, which just returned with its complement of 3,000 crew members to its home port of Bremerton following a routine 7-month deployment in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Here is the schedule for the two-day event. All activities are based at Bremerton Airport:
6:30-9:30 p.m.: Barnstormers Party presented by Jeppesen
7:30-10:30 a.m.: Rusty Pilots seminar
8:-9:30 a.m.: Pancake breakfast
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Exhibits open
9:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Seminars, safety briefings, aviation product showcase and More
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch
2:35-3:30 p.m.: Pilot Town Hall with AOPA President Mark Baker
3:30-4 p.m.: Ice-cream social
4 p.m.: AOPA Fly-In ends