GREENVILLE, Maine — Pilots from across the country and Canada are attending the 40th International Seaplane Fly-In which began Thursday and runs through Sunday, according to organizers of the event.
The annual event, in which pilots test their flying skills and learn about the latest products in the aircraft industry, typically draws thousands of spectators and some unique aircraft to this tourist community.
The fly-in got its start in 1973, when local bush pilots, who flew people in and out of the remote areas in the Moosehead Lake region, got together for a weekend of camaraderie. By 1995, the event was such a hit that a nonprofit organization, the International Seaplane Fly-In Association, was formed.
The growth of the organization has expanded over the years and this year it took a giant step with the opening of an office at 38 Pritham Ave.
“Safety is our major emphasis at the event, and so far we’ve had a good record,” said Duane Lander, a founding member. “We have a very dedicated group of pilots who are very professional.”
This year’s fly-in is dedicated to the memory of Louis O. Hilton, a Greenville resident and longtime supporter of the event, who died in May.
On Friday, registration continued at the Stobie hangar at the Greenville headquarters of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. A lobster and steak cookout was scheduled at 6 p.m. at Telford’s hangar at the Greenville Municipal Airport.
Saturday’s events include a 7 a.m. public breakfast at the Masonic Temple; refreshments throughout the day offered at the local American Legion Post; a craft fair, displays and demonstrations; and pilot contests. The contests will begin at about 10 a.m., weather permitting.
Sunday’s activities include a 7:30 a.m. ecumenical church service at the gazebo near the Steamship Katahdin and a public breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. at the American Legion Post. More flying contests will start around 10 a.m.