August 6, 2009 in Washington Voices

Small, unmanned aircraft take wing

Ryan Lancaster

With mammoth B-52 bombers and fighter jet fly-bys, the average summer air show packs a wallop that can’t be denied.

But how about an air show that instead features spontaneous competitions among remote-control flying machines and more than 20 pilots sending their aircraft into the sky without ever leaving the ground themselves?

The Northwest Electric Fly-In, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Spangle, will feature the largest gathering of electric flying machines in the Inland Northwest. The show takes place at the Paradise Flying Field, 20 minutes southeast of Cheney off of U.S. Highway 195.

“These are aircraft that you wouldn’t know were up there if you didn’t see them,” said Dave Moore, treasurer of Inland Empire Quiet Flyers, which sponsors the event. Moore said many enthusiasts prefer gas-powered aircraft, but electric-powered models are simpler, cleaner and just plain meaner in a contest. In last year’s mini-helicopter “drag race” between gas- and electric-powered helicopters, electricity won every time, he said.

Pilots will be available for introductory lessons, and there will be an exhibition air show each day at noon. About 200 spectators showed up last year. “This is a chance for the public to see what it’s all about,” said Moore.

For more information, visit

EWU food drive challenge under way

Eastern Washington University started its second-annual food drive Monday, and it runs through August 21. Teams of faculty and staff are competing for prizes based on how much they can gather for the Cheney Food Bank and Second Harvest Inland Northwest in Spokane. Backpacks are also being sought for the Cheney Outreach Program.

Event co-chair Kathleen Warren said family, friends or businesses can pitch in and make a food or monetary donation to the team of their choice. Collection points are located around the Cheney campus and at EWU Riverpoint in Spokane.

Organizers said last year’s food drive generated 6 tons of food and more than $5,000.

For more information, contact Warren at (509) 359-6664.

Polo Club in Airway Heights open to all

Despite polo’s longstanding reputation as an upper-crust sport, spectators of all stripes are welcome at general tournaments and practice bouts on the field just west of Airway Heights, said John Babin, president of the Spokane Polo Club.

“People can bring a picnic or a cooler … and tailgate,” said Babin. “Just back onto the edge of the field and watch.”

Babin said polo has been a regional tradition since 1913, when cavalry horse riders at Spokane’s Fort George Wright started playing for amusement. A few local figures such as Peter Dix, for whom the polo field is named, helped keep the sport alive despite pressure to develop the land, said Babin. “They want to keep this available for future generations.”

Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. Call the club at (509)747-0084 for tournament information.

Primary ballots due Aug. 18

Ballots have been mailed, and now it’s up to voters to cast them by Aug. 18 for Spokane County primary elections. Cheney and Medical Lake residents have a number of municipal choices to make before the Nov. 3 general election, and those in all districts will say yea or nay to extending a sales tax for public safety programs for the next 10 years.

Those who haven’t yet registered to vote have until Aug. 10 to do so to vote in the primary. You can register in person at the Spokane County Elections Office, 1033 W. Gardner Ave. in Spokane.

Drop Boxes will be open at county libraries in Airway Heights, Cheney and Medical Lake until 8 p.m. election night. Visit elections for more information.

Family game nights offered in Cheney

For parents wishing to spend a few hours of quality time with the kids before school madness starts this fall, Cheney’s Parks department offers two opportunities.

A parent-teen game night for ages 13 to 15 takes place Aug. 14, and a family-fun game night for ages 7 to 12 is Aug. 15. Both events will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Cheney’s City Hall Auditorium.

Parents must register before Saturday for two of the last programs of the summer season. Call (509) 498-9250 for more information.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email