GREENVILLE, Maine — A preliminary report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board indicates that all four wheels on Telford Allen Jr.’s pontoon-equipped airplane were in the extended position when he landed on Moose River in Rockwood on Aug. 1.
The well-known pilot and founder of Telford Aviation Services died when the airplane flipped over into the water after landing. His passenger, Natalie Holmes-Moody, 61, of Rockwood, survived the accident.
Allen, 64, had departed the paved Steven A. Bean Municipal Airport in Rangeley on Aug. 1 before landing on Moose River. An inspection of the airplane after the incident revealed that the four green landing gear lights had been illuminated, indicating that the landing gear was extended and locked for landing on hard surfaces, according to the NTSB. A final report is expected to be filed by the NTSB within the next several months.
Holmes-Moody, who was interviewed by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector after the landing, said Allen made a verbal expression just before the airplane made contact with the water, according to the NTSB report. The airplane immediately went to the left and nosed over into the water.
“It was a tragic mistake,” Darralyn Gauvin of Greenville, a member of the International Seaplane Fly-In committee, said Thursday. Allen, who worked over the years to organize the Fly-In, will be sadly missed, she said. His devotion to the event was so notable and appreciated that people who knew him are turning out in force to help fill the void his death created, she said.
“I’ve had so many people call and ask, ‘What can I do?’” Gauvin said as she prepared for this year’s International Seaplane Fly-In, scheduled for Sept. 9-12. “It’s a real testament to the kind of person he was that so many people understand and want to be part of this.”
A celebration of Allen’s life will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at Telford’s Hangar at the Greenville Airport, sponsored by his family. The event, free to the public, also will include a live band at 9 p.m. for dancing and socializing.
Gauvin said she will be registering people for the fly-in starting at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, and starting at 8 a.m. Friday, Sept. 10, at the Stobie Hangar at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Greenville headquarters. Each person who registers will receive a fly-in tote bag donated by Indian Hill Trading Post that is full of goodies donated by local merchants.
On Thursday night, a Katahdin cruise with a buffet dinner and entertainment by Dave Mallett will be offered. While the event is designed for fly-in registrants, the public also is invited at a cost of $50 per person.
A poker run and a steak-and-lobster cookout will be held Friday.
Saturday’s events will begin with a public breakfast at the Masonic Hall, followed later in the morning by contests that include a bush pilots’ canoe race, bomb drop, and takeoff and landing.
As it has in past years, the Civil Air Patrol will assist fly-in organizers during the event.
On Sunday, a public breakfast will be held at the American Legion Post, followed later by any contests that were not concluded on Saturday.
The weekend’s events also will feature a craft fair, exhibits and displays, and refreshments.
Whatever the event, there will be memories of Allen, his love of flying and his devotion to the Fly-In, Gauvin said.