Greenville Seaplane Fly-In

Seaplane Banner

40th Annual Seaplane Fly-In Sept. 5-8

    GREENVILLE — Pilots from across the country and Canada are expected to attend the popular International Seaplane Fly-In from Sept. 5-8 in Greenville. This year’s event is dedicated to memory of Louis O. Hilton, a Greenville resident and longtime supporter of the Fly-In, who passed away in May.

NE-FlyInLegends-DCX-PO-35Photo courtesy of Moosehead Historical Society

    AVIATION LEGENDS — Pictured (from left) Lou Hilton, Dick Folsom (in the chair with blanket ) Judge Grinnell, and kneeling, Bob Bryan.

    The annual event, which allows pilots to test their flying skills against others 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 of 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 kicks off Thursday, Sept. 4 with registration and a sunset cruise and buffet on the steamship Katahdin.
    On Friday, registration will continue at 8 a.m. at the Stobie hangar at the Greenville headquarters of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Also that day, a poker run and a lobster and steak cookout at Telford’s hangar at the Greenville Municipal Airport will be held.
    Saturday’s events also will include a 7 a.m. public breakfast at the Masonic Temple, refreshments throughout the day at the local American Legion Post, a craft fair, various displays and demonstrations and pilot contests. The contests will begin around 10 a.m.
    Sunday’s activities include a 7:30 a.m. ecumenical church service at the gazebo near the Katahdin and a public breakfast from 7 to 9 a.m. at the American Legion Post. Any remaining contests also will be held starting around 10 a.m.


Special Fly-In exhibit at Aviation Museum

By Shelagh Talbot

    GREENVILLE — With the 40th anniversary of the International Seaplane Fly-In, taking place Sept. 5-8, the Center for Moosehead History, home to the Moosehead Lake Aviation Museum, has created a special exhibit of some equally special memorabilia for the forthcoming event.
    One exhibit room is dedicated to the renowned amphibious DC-3, which was conceived and constructed in Greenville and flown off Moosehead Lake. In 1985 Folsom’s Air Service located a set of floats for the DC-3. “It was my idea originally to buy it,” Max Folsom said. He, his father, Louis O. Hilton and Herman Bayerdorffer formed a company, HBF, Inc. to recreate a WWII amphibious DC-3.
    It was quite the project taking over six years, and countless hours to put the heavy DC-3 on pontoons. “Just to build the fuselage up so it could take the floats was a two-year job,” observed Max. There are photographs of the amazing plane in action – a video is at the ready to watch her fly. Chances are either Louis Hilton or one of the Folsoms were at the helm. The floats have since been removed but this plane can still be viewed at the Greenville Municipal Airport.
    The Aviation Museum, which opened two years ago, is “dedicated to the dauntless pilots who contributed to the region’s memorable aviation activities, events and history.” It’s fascinating to see the history of aviation come alive before your eyes. Some of the old planes are from the earliest days of flying. There are so many things to see — from amazing photographs to the beautifully-displayed articles written by, or about, the pilots of the Moosehead Region.
    The museum celebrates the pioneers of aviation and offers a fascinating insight into what it was like to be a bush pilot during those long-ago days. I especially enjoyed reading about the many bush pilots that daringly landed in smaller ponds or under some hazardous conditions — like on the ice! It was nice to see women included amongst the “derring-do” men of that day. Old leather aviation jackets complement a beautifully handmade diorama of a floatplane camp, created by artist Paul Tartachny.
    There is much to see in these two rooms alone, but like the commercial says – wait, there’s more! In the fireplace room, in addition to more information about bush pilots, sits a battered ejection seat which came from the B52 Stratofortress which crashed on Elephant Mountain over 50 years ago. The Moosehead Snowmobile Riders Club, which holds an honor ceremony every January on the date of the crash, has been generous to the museum in sharing a number of these artifacts.
    Information about the Fly-In can be found as well and you can view some vintage photographs and other artifacts pertaining to earlier shows. It’s a nice way to round out your visit to the Fly-In event.
     If you’re interested in adventure on the ground, the main room of the Center for Moosehead History is featuring old-time hunting. On the wall hangs what is purportedly to be the last legal elk shot in Maine but that’s part of a mystery, because in a glass case not far from the elk is a pair of winter boots made from the knee hide of an elk, also purportedly to have been the last one shot.
    Then there’s the story of the first Maine Guide, a remarkable woman (Cornelia Thurza Crosby), nicknamed Fly Rod Crosby for her uncanny ability to catch fish, all the while wearing the heavy skirts and accouterments of a woman during the 1800s. In addition to having been a legendary angler, she was considered a crack shot and also bagged the last legitimately shot elk in Maine. So who knows? These mysteries and more are waiting to be uncovered. You can also view a typical woods camp during the latter part of the 1800s through the early 1900s. Things were a lot simpler then – no GPS, iPhones and computers.
    Discover as well a beautiful display of Native American artifacts, stone tools and arrows gracefully created out of Kineo rhyolite and other material. Down the center aisle a display case is filled with the tools of the trade of doctors who lived in Greenville and served the folks in the outlying Moosehead region. Some of them were pilots too, including Dr. Fichtner.
    The Center for Moosehead History, located at 6 Lakeview, is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Visit these museums on line at mooseheadhistory.org or e-mail mooseheadhistory@myfairpoint.net.


International Seaplane Fly-In Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 5
1 p.m. Registration at Stobie seaplane base; one shuttle van will be running starting at 1 p.m.
5:30 p.m.  Registration will be moved to the Katahdin parking lot.
6-9 p.m. Katahdin buffet and sunset cruise. Reservations for the buffet/cruise can be made ONLY through the Fly-In. Please do not contact the Katahdin for reservations.
Friday, Sept. 6
8 a.m. Registration at Stobie seaplane base all day; shuttle vans will be running; exhibitors set up at Stobie; poker run. A day for pilots and guests to enjoy the beauty of the Moosehead Lake region.
6 p.m. Steak and lobster cookout at Telford’s hangar, Greenville Municipal Airport.
Saturday, Sept. 7
7-9 a.m. Public breakfast at the Columbia-Doric Masonic Temple, Pritham Avenue. Shuttle Vans will be running. Pilots meeting will be held at time and location TBA. Visit www.seaplanefly-in.org for updates.
10 a.m. Organized fly-bys; activities at the Greenville Municipal Airport and seaplane base; craft fair in downtown Greenville; pilots’ contests.
6 p.m. Banquet at Telford’s hangar, Greenville Municipal Airport.
Sunday, Sept. 8
7-9 a.m. Public Breakfast at the American Legion Hall, Pritham Avenue; Seaplane Pilots’ Association breakfast meeting on the Katahdin, time TBA.
10 a.m. Completion of contests not done on Saturday.
12 p.m. Winner of the 50/50 raffle will be drawn; craft fair continues in downtown Greenville.


NE-FlyInUpUp-DCX-PO-35Photo courtesy of Moosehead Historical Society

    UP, UP AND AWAY — The famous DC-3 takes off with Lou Hilton and Max Folsom at the controls.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.