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Seaplane Fly-In brings planes and people to Greenville

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GREENVILLE — Pilots from across the country and Canada are expected to attend the popular International Seaplane Fly-In from Sept. 7-10, which also draws some of the biggest crowds of the summer season to the Moosehead Lake region.

The 44th annual event, which allows pilots to test their flying skills against others and learn about the latest products in the aircraft industry, often draws some unique aircraft to this tourist community as well

The International Seaplane Fly-In got its start in 1973 when Greenville was but a speck on the world map and a few bush pilots made a living flying sportsmen in and out of this remote area. Very few roads existed at the time.

It was during some down time on a wintry day when a few Greenville pilots thought it might be a good time to invite like-minded pilots to the area for a weekend of fun and flying.

A tradition was born when David Quam (a past-president of the Seaplane Pilots Association), Duane Lander, Telford Allen, Chip Taylor, Dick Folsom and Charlie Coe — truly one of the last of the late, great bush pilots — got the first Fly-In off the ground. It turned out to be a great success. Pilots from around the country started making it an annual run.

By 1995, International Seaplane Fly-In became a non-profit corporation. Its purpose is to promote fellowship, personal contact, and unification among seaplane pilots, and recreational and competitive events, including at least one annual fly-in.

Today, besides the Cessnas, Cubs and Beavers, some spectacular examples of rare planes make a showing. Those have included a traditional 1944 Grumman Goose. It is not unusual to see a Caravan or two, as well as many classic and experimental seaplanes.

The design and diversity of these beauties, combined with the knowledge of the pilots flying them, make a tremendous weekend for the flying enthusiast.

Admission to the Fly-In is free, but parking spaces are hard to come by in downtown Greenville during the event weekend. Spectators often park their cars at the municipal airport where shuttle service is available to and from the site.

A schedule of Fly-In events will be posted at www.seaplanefly-in.org prior to the start of this year’s 44th annual event.

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