Fourth Annual International Skiplane Fly-In This Weekend
U.S. pilots (right) greet their Canadian counterparts across the International Boundary on Lake Memphremagog, as a pair of RCMP constables, in orange, stand by.
Ideal conditions prevailed for the 2011 event.
February 16, 2012 – This Sunday, February 19, marks a truly unique winter flying event – the International Lake Memphremagog Ski Fly Meet, held on frozen Lake Memphremagog situated along the United States/Canadian border in both Vermont and Quebec. Pilots from both countries fly in, make sure they remain in their country's airspace, and land on designated areas on their side of the border. (A line made in the snow will indicate the "temporary exact" border.)
During this event only, both U.S. and Canadian border authorities allow attendees to interact with their cross-border comrades, have lunch together across the border, and get close looks at each other's aircraft.
"There has been a lot of interest this time from both the Canadian and the U.S. sides, so it should be a fun time meeting each other without the normal border crossing hassle," writes George Weller, EAA 185481, of Stanstead, Quebec/Derby Line, Vermont, who organizes the event. Border officials are fully informed of the event "and their approval is based on our previous well mannered behavior, so let's not disappoint them this time," he added.
The meet location is due north of the Newport, Vermont, airport (EFK) on the 45th parallel just west of Providence Island on Lake Memphremagog (pronounced "Mem-free-MAY-gogg"). To ensure a safe and hassle-free event, the rules are:
- Canadians land on the Canadian side, Americans land on the U.S. side.
- Do not let any part of your plane enter the other country at any time, in the air or on the ground.
- No exchange or passing of any items (other than food) across the border.
- Weller reported last week that the ice is more than a foot thick, considered adequate for aircraft operations, but also warns, "Everyone participates at their own risk."
Planes should plan to arrive between noon and 1 p.m. The event is expected to end by 3:30-4 p.m. at the latest. Lake Memphremagog is about 30 miles long and the border can be seen easily, represented by east/west cut lines.