Lying between the White Mountains to the west and the Gulf of Maine to the east, Maine lands hold over 5000 ponds and lakes giving seaplane pilots unique flying opportunities.
During the Ice Ages the glaciers scooped out these ponds leaving them filled with water and glacial debris. Maine is the most heavily forested state in the lower 48 and the forests extend right down to the water’s edge whose shoreline vary from rocky to sandy beaches. After the American Revolutionary War, Maine’s lands were broken into townships and were sold and traded to pay off debt and finance state operations. This resulted in huge blocks of forest land including the ponds and rivers being held in private hands and this remain so today. When combined with a Maine law defining “any pond over eight acres in size belongs to the people of Maine” seaplane access to most bodies of water is guaranteed
Of the 5000 ponds the majority are available to seaplane use. Restrictions apply in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway System with a handful of pick up and drop off locations specified. In addition waters of Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park are closed or restricted.
Maine has a number of seaplane bases that provide fuel, maintenance services, charters, rental and training. In addition the season begins with an annual Seaplane Safety Seminar and closes with the Greenville International Seaplane Fly In in September.
For the visiting seaplane pilot a wide variety of seaplane experiences are available. Everything from remote wilderness lodges to lakeside villages with restaurants and lodging. If sleeping under the wing appeals to you, try one of the remote campsites listed in the destination directory. And if you’re new to camping try the Lincoln Airport and Seaplane Base campground with riverside camping and hot showers.
An indispensable guide for both visiting and based pilots is The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer published by Delorme. It has the best detail on Maine’s ponds and lakes including established campsites. Combine this with a satellite view from an internet based map program to gain a bird’s eye view of the shoreline and rock piles. Type into your favorite search engine the lake name followed by maine.gov (example: Sebago Lake maine.gov) to download a survey page showing water depths and other information.
Maine is proud of the high quality of its water in the rivers and ponds. Invasive aquatic plants have made their way into 30 of the states ponds located in southern region and current information and map is available at www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives/ . Maine law requires all watercraft and seaplanes operating on Maine’s inland waters to purchase and display a “milfoil sticker” They are available from Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife online store which you can access by clicking here . Today only 1 % of Maine’s waters are affected by invasive aquatic plants while neighboring states waters exceed 30% to 40% threatening the state’s water resources.
Training facilities are available with the ability to combine a vacation while earning a seaplane rating, completing a flight review or simply getting recurrency training.
The Maine SPA Field directors are helpful and knowledgeable in regards to Seaplane operations and are available for further information.