LIVERMORE FALLS — The cloud ceiling was too low Saturday for planes to fly in, but Bowman Field Flying Club members still enjoyed some good company at the eighth annual Bowman Field Fly-In at Bowman Field.
When the ceiling is low, with a lot of precipitation, the moisture will freeze on the plane wings, making them heavy and risking altitude loss, said club member Ken Lyman of Livermore Falls.
Visibility was also an issue, so no planes flew in to the field Saturday.
“We are having a good time, though. That’s what it’s all about,” said member Ray Steinmayer of Sydney, as he and the other club members enjoyed their potluck meal.
Member Kendra Lyman-Hood of Turner told the story of the field’s origin.
In 1960, her great-grandfather, Royston “Stubby” Lyman, along with his brother-in-law, Winn Bowen, turned a cow pasture and potato patch into the little airport it is today. By combining their last names, Lyman and Bowen, they created Bowman Field.
The club has about 30 members, and much like the snowmobile clubs in the state, their aging member-base is causing them to seek some “young blood,” said member Sue Firlotte of North Monmouth.
“The biggest reasons the aviation industry is dying is because it’s so expensive and so weather-dependent,” Lyman-Hood said.
But her father, Ken Lyman, said flying is no more expensive than any other outdoor hobby.
“You can buy a basic airplane for $12,000 to $15,000, which is no more than two new snowmobiles,” he said.
Aviation fuel costs about $4 a gallon, and Lyman said the average plane burns anywhere from four to seven gallons per hour.
“But you could go 100 miles in that hour,” he said.
In the summer, members take turns mowing the field. Even using a mower that is eight feet wide, it takes the designated member about seven hours to complete.
“It’s a great way to spend a nice day,” Steinmayer said.
Bowman Field Flying Club member Terry Averill of Litchfield, accompanied by his dog, Piper, tows a snow roller behind a snowmobile at Bowman Field in Livermore Falls on Saturday during the eighth annual Bowman Field Fly-In. (Liz Marquis/Sun Journal)