Fliers Flock to Successful International Fly-In
COPA's Patrick Gilligan, of Rockland, Ontario, greets people next to his RV-8.
This Cessna 150G belonging to Raymond Brochu was one of two that went through thin ice in shallow water, but authorities from both sides of the border were able to pull it out with no damage. It was later flown home.
An RV-9A owned by Thomas Miller of Poland Spring, Maine, is parked near Robert Burlee's Aviat Husky A-1B on Lake Memphremagog – on the U.S. side.
February 23, 2012 – Dozens of aircraft - 41 by one count - landed Sunday, February 19, on a (mostly) frozen Lake Memphremagog for the fourth annual International Ski Fly Meet held near the United States/Canadian border straddled by Vermont and Quebec. The airplanes - most with skis but several wheeled - arrived from as far away as Pennsylvania, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Ottawa, Ontario, Montreal, and Quebec City.
Event organizer George Weller, EAA 185481, of Stanstead, Quebec/Derby Line, Vermont, was very pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm. "People I talked with seemed happy with the event," he wrote in an e-mail - although two pilots who unknowingly parked their planes where the ice was not as robust as most of the lake areas saw their machines break through in shallow water.
Both needed to be pulled out by U.S. Border Patrol agents and Canadian Mounties with the aid of wooden planks. Neither plane was damaged, and both were flown home, Weller said. Markers will be placed around the troublesome wet area next year.
"My effort in establishing this meet is to foster friendly Canada/U.S. international interaction between our peoples in the small airplane realm," wrote Weller, who flew in with his Aeronca Champ. "Especially for those planes that can't legally cross the border due to type restrictions. This friendly interaction seems to be happening thanks to you all."
Weller also thanked IBET (Integrated Border Enforcement Teams), which authorized the unique event. "We are a big continent and normally trying to cross the border after 9/11 with small airplanes has become difficult and time consuming, even if legally possible for some."