Seattle made aviation history in 1916 when William E. Boeing and Navy Lt. Conrad Westervelt formed the Boeing Airplane company, and hired self-taught aviation tinker Herb Munter to build the company’s first aircraft, the B&W seaplane.
Read more about Boeing and Early Aviation in Seattle at historylink.org, and the feature stories that follow to chronicle Seattle’s love affair with aircraft and aviation.
The love affair continues to this day. Listed below are some of the major air shows and related events of special interest to aviation afficianados in every corner of the Puget Sound region. The air shows are listed in date order, beginning in May with Aviation Day at Paine Field in Everett and continuing through summer.
Aviation Day at Paine Field in Everett
Aviation Day at Paine Field is an annual family-friendly festival each May and includes free admission to two museums: Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (FHCAM), and the Historic Flight Foundation (HFF). Other events include an air show, one-of-a-kind aircraft, meet the pilots and talk with flight schools, demonstrations, and free introductory flights for youth ages 8-17 (first-come-first-served and space is limited). Food vendors on site. Free parking with shuttles to the event.
- 2018 Aviation Day at Paine Field, Saturday, May 19. Tickets: $15 per person ages 10+ or $35 per family (2 adults and children).
American Heroes Aviation Show in Seattle
American Heroes Air Show is the nation’s premier, helicopter–only, FREE aviation event designed to educate visitors about rotary-wing aviation’s diverse capabilities.
At Seattle’s Museum of Flight American Heroes Airshow, you can learn how helicopters play an important role in law enforcement, fire service, public safety, communications, national defense and homeland security. The American Heroes Air Show features static displays, special presentations and entertainment! Come early to see the helicopters land. Located in the East Parking Lot at MOF; admission to the museum is not included.
2018 American Heroes Air Show at Seattle Museum of Flight had been cancelled (originally scheduled for Saturday, June 9).
Olympic Air Show in Olympia
Olympic Air Show features four hours of aerobatic performances by many renowned air show performers in a variety of noted historical aircraft. Free parking at the Olympia Regional Airport fills very quickly, then use street parking in the surrounding areas of the airport– likely some distance from the entrance.
2018 Olympic Air Show, Father’s Day Weekend — June 16 – 17. Tickets: $15 online; $20 at the gate. Children 6 and under are FREE.
Gig Harbor “Wings and Wheels” Air Show (and Car Show)
The Gig Harbor Air Show “Wing & Wheels” at Tacoma Narrows Airport is held in conjunction with Tacoma’s July 4th Freedom Fair.
The Gig Harbor air show includes two performances featuring airborne demonstrations and acrobats. Throughout the day, attendees can also enjoy airplane rides and the opportunity to meet some of the top pilots in the industry. It’s a perfect outing for the airplane enthusiast or anyone seeking thrilling entertainment.
- 2018 Wings and Wheels Show, June 30 – July 1, 2018. Tickets: General admission $15; parking $10.
Arlington Fly-In Air Show
Arlington Fly-In is the West Coast’s Premier Recreation Aviation Event. And they’re mixing it up in 2019. Anything that involves humans and machines in the air is the focus: Airplanes, hot air balloons, ultralights, warbirds, and drones
2018 tickets prices (last time we checked, pricing for 2019 had not been announced): Arriving by Aircraft $10 (3-day pass $20). Arriving by car or camper $15 advance (3-day pass $40); $17 gate (3-day pass $45). Kids 15 and younger are FREE and must be accompanied by an adult. Camping is $30 per night per space, with a minimum of 2 nights and advance purchase only.
- August 16-18, 2019. Discounted tickets online purchase only: http://www.arlingtonflyin.org/admissions/.
Air Show at Seattle Seafair Weekend
Seafair is Seattle’s summer-long festival including dozens of community events held throughout the region.
Seafair Weekend is the culmination of this summer of fun. The highlight of Seafair Weekend is the Boeing Air Show, one of the most impressive air shows in the country, in no small part due to the performance of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. The Seafair air show also includes the Flying Heritage Collection featuring acrobatic thrills, and other military, vintage, and specialty aircraft. On Thursday, the Blue Angels perform in a short practice. Friday-Sunday features the complete air show.
Tickets to Seafair Weekend are $40 general admission. For ways to save on tickets, read our post on free entrance and discount tickets for Seafair Weekend.
You can enjoy the air show for FREE from many vantage points throughout Seattle, check our list of locations where you can watch the Blue Angels for free.
- 2108 Seafair Weekend, August 3-5. General Admission $40.
Vintage Aircraft Weekend at Paine Field in Everett
Vintage Aircraft Weekend (VAW) is a family-friendly weekend of flying, history, inspiration, food, fun, music, and excitement. Featured aircraft include examples from 1927 – 1957. The main event on Saturday features a Speakers Bureau, live music, flying displays, vintage automobiles and military vehicles, fine food, vintage bicycles, vintage clothing and uniforms, and a host of opportunities for kids and parents to interact with displays and vendors. Sunday provides an opportunity to visit with pilots about their aircraft as they prepare for local flying and the flight home. Throughout the day rides will be offered in open cockpit biplanes and the DC-3. Enjoy BBQ and live music.
- No VAW held in 2018
Getaway: Airfest in Bellingham (90 miles north of Seattle)
Bellingham Airfest. Get up close and take pictures of historic and specialized aircraft that will be on display. Talk with pilots and local flying clubs. Watch demonstrations. Raffles. Food Vendors. Free parking and admission. The kids area will include face painting, a bouncy house, and aviation-themed arts and crafts.
- 2018 Bellingham Airfest, Saturday, September 8, 11am-4pm at Bellingham International Airport.
You might also like:
Tacoma Narrows Airport, 1302 26th Ave NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Arlington Municipal Airport, Arlington, WA
Olympia Regional Airport, Olympia, WA
Lake Washington, Seattle, WA
Bellingham International Airport, 4255 Mitchell Way, Bellingham, WA