A normally quiet cove became an outdoor amphitheater as thousands of spectators lined the shore at the forty-fifth annual International Seaplane Fly-In at Greenville, Maine.
The event, which ran Sept. 6 through 9, featured seaplane flying competitions, new and vintage aircraft, educational displays, vendors, and camaraderie.
More than 50 seaplanes ranging from Piper J–3 Cubs to Quest Kodiaks and Cessna Caravans dropped into the Greenville Forestry Seaplane Base on the south end of Moosehead Lake, and more than 100 general aviation aircraft stayed at the hard-surface municipal airport about two miles away. The approach to the seaplane base (when landing north) involves flying base and final directly over downtown Greenville, a seaplane-friendly town of 1,600 residents.
Greenville officials installed a single, portable traffic light during the fly-in to accommodate the surge in tourism. Hotels were full, campers and recreational vehicles filled up reserved spaces at the municipal airport, and restaurants like the Stress Free Moose Pub—a favorite among visiting pilots—did brisk business.
“This place is always busy during the fly-in,” said Peter Russell, a retired audio engineer from New York who said he has attended the event 16 years in a row. “If the weather turns bad, you won’t be able to get a seat.”
Seaplane flying contests included short takeoffs, spot landings, and taxi slalom.
Strange, a 41-year seaplane pilot who works at Maine-based PK Floats, said the highlight of the weekend for him is awarding seaplane flying scholarships to deserving young people, and plaques to the contest winners.
“The trophies themselves are only $8 each,” he said. “But the recognition of their skills and accomplishments is something they treasure. We’re all competitive, but we’re all good friends, too. The camaraderie among seaplane pilots is something you’ve got to see to believe.”