LIVERMORE FALLS — The sunny, blue skies above Livermore Falls buzzed with the sound of plane engines Saturday morning during the start of the 30th annual Bowman Field Fly-In, taking place Aug. 27-28.

Unfortunately for seasoned flight enthusiast Stephen Christy of Lebanon, New Hampshire, not everything went as planned.

Christy, a longtime president and CEO of Mascoma Savings Bank in New Hampshire, flipped his plane upon landing at the grass airfield.

“The plane seemed to land and was rolling, but then just tipped over,” said an onlooker who declined to give their name. “They might have hit a bump.”

Christy and one other male occupant, with what appeared to be a bleeding forehead, managed to walk away from the overturned plane.

Livermore Falls Fire Department personnel were on the scene immediately to assist the two men and a Northstar Ambulance arrived shortly thereafter to assess their condition.

Christy’s plane is a 1948 Cessna 195, a larger five-seat, vintage aircraft that can often be valued at more than $100,000. According to information on the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association website, the Cessna 195 is known to be finicky on the ground with bounciness upon landing.

The mishap put a short hold on the runway activities and seemed to dampen the mood of the event for a while. Pilots in attendance said they were aware of the constant need to remain vigilant when flying.

“I’ve flown for the civil air patrol,” Don Cote of Sabattus said while performing a pre-flight check of his two-seater Cessna 150. “I like going through everything.” 

Safety seemed even more critical to Chief Ranger Pilot, John Crowley, who pilots a helicopter for the Maine Forest Service. His aircraft is a Bell UH-1 Iroquois, commonly known as “Huey” and is a multipurpose utility helicopter famous for its use during the Vietnam War. Like many Hueys that are still in use today, his aircraft is primarily used in firefighting missions.

Earlier this summer, Crowley and his team dealt with stubborn wildfires on Mt. Abram in Kingfield.

“We played with that fire for two days before it slowed up,” Crowley said. “At one point, it was 1/100th of an acre but went to 50 acres by the end of the day.”

While discussing the “Bambi Bucket” that carries 200 gallons of water to suppress fires in remote locations, Crowley added “We don’t put out fires with the ‘copter; we make it easier for the guys on the ground.”

The firefighting Huey was a hit with Glenda Clark of North Turner and her three grandchildren, Reagan, Noah, and Garret.

“This is pretty awesome for the kids,” she said. “I didn’t realize there was so much enthusiasm about planes.”

She said she was delighted that everything was free.

“It’s pretty cool,” her grandson, Garret, said.

Others said they attended because they just love airplanes.

Jon Polky, who lives near the airport, said he used to hay the fields there as a kid. During a period when he lived near the coast, Polky said he volunteered at the Owls Head Transportation Museum.

“I like to share the information I know about machines,” said Polky as his companion, Darlene Moore, nodded in agreement.

“He’s trying to get me to take a flight,” Moore said regarding the demonstration flights offered at the event.

“I took her on a helicopter ride once and she loved it,” Polky said.

The event continues through the weekend with music, games, food, a yard sale, and door prizes. Admission and parking are free.

Bowman Field is at 40 River Road in Livermore Falls.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: