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Greenville International Seaplane Fly-in 2009

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The shore of Moosehead Lake was crowded as onlookers take in the various aircraft competitions.

The short takeoff competition is run like a drag-race.

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September 24, 2009Editors Note:  Phil Lockwood of Lockwood Aircraft provides this postcard of his first visit to a little known fly-in outside of the seaplane community.

Two weeks ago (September 10) was my first visit to the International Seaplane Fly-In held in Greenville, Maine, on the southern tip of beautiful Moosehead Lake. The fly-in, which began in 1973, swells the population of Greenville from about 1,700 to 6,000 when seaplane enthusiasts show up for the weekend.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provides its seaplane base for the event and it’s the only time private aircraft are allowed use of this facility. Several experts answered questions, and between the indoor and outdoor displays, just about every active manufacturer of aircraft floats was represented. A wide variety of floatplanes were there, including a surprising number of older Cessna 172s and a beautifully restored 1931 Sikorsky S-39.

This fly-in has a relaxed atmosphere and was well organized, and much of that can be attributed to the event chairman Telford Allen, who was easy to work with and very accommodating, from an exhibitors point of view. I was attending because the AirCam is manufactured by one of my companies, Lockwood Aircraft. Many floatplane enthusiasts flew their non-float equipped aircraft into the Greenville Municipal Airport (3B1) which has two paved runways. A shuttle made the 10 minute drive to and from the fly-in a snap. 
The weekend competitions include a bomb drop, a spot landing contest, and the popular short takeoff competition. This is when aircraft owners truly find out how much stuff they carry in their aircraft as they seek to remove every bit of extra weight they can find in their planes and floats.  One of the more unique competitions was a canoe race where a team of two race against the clock. One team member races across the bay in the canoe while the other team member fires up the seaplane and step taxies, very quickly, across the bay where they meet at a floating dock, load the canoe onto the floats, rapidly secure it to the float rigging, and taxi back to the seaplane base dock and unload the canoe onto the dock.

Despite this show’s 36-year history, it seems to remain unknown to many aviation enthusiasts. What a shame. As I write this story I find myself having mixed emotions about trying to change that. Although the remote location will limit attendance, I think part of what makes this show so enjoyable is its small size. I hope that doesn’t change too much because I like it just the way it is.

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