PROCTOR - Now that the Elmo Fire is under control, Lake Mary Ronan Lodge is fully operational once again and hosted a special event over the weekend.
“So now that flying boats have been become appreciated, this is what you're going to see today is goose flying planes. And the ones that we have are very special, there are only four in the world that have turboprop engines, and they are all here today," said Loel Fenwick, a flying boat pilot out of Idaho.
The Seaplane Invasion on Lake Mary Ronan brought in about 15 vintage seaplanes to land right in front of the Lake Mary Ronan Lodge as pilots flew in from all over to join the event with their unique aircraft and inspiring stories.
“It’s a flying boat and that’s unusual. It’s a kind of seaplane where it doesn’t land on floats, the whole airplane is a boat and it lands on its belly. Flying boats were popular in the 30s and 40s," said Fenwick.
Fenwick, who is originally from South Africa, became interested in seaplanes after taking a trip with his mother as a child and landing in the Mediterranean and Nile River.
“The first plane I ever flew in was the flying boat. I was five years old. And I always wanted a flying boat after that. Finally, I was able to find one about 30 years ago,” said Fenwick.
Part of the attraction to seaplanes is being able to land in some of the most beautiful places the northwest has to offer. This is the second year of the Seaplane Invasion on Lake Mary Ronan and the event happened to occur right after the Elmo Fire had shut down the lodge during its peak season.
“This is really amazing to see this kind of turnout. We're really happy to see this and be able to put this on. You know we have an amazing venue here and we just haven't had a lot of luck. This year. Getting a lot of people out here," said The Lodge and Resort at Lake Mary Ronan general manager Kevin Sylviag.
Spectators got to listen to live music and watch firsthand the excitement of planes landing on the lake.
“The experience of landing on the water is really very, very exciting because sometimes the waves are very big. And you've got to be handling storms and things like that. But it's all part of the skills we need to develop,” said Fenwick.