BRUNSWICK — Predictions of heavy rain this weekend kept down the crowds and the aircraft on day one of the two-day International Brunswick Fly-In, but die-hard flying fans didn’t stay away.

By noon Saturday, only three planes and a helicopter had landed at the Brunswick Executive Airport, the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, compared to 300 aircraft last year, but visitors arrving by automobile crowded into the exhibition tent.

The event also features free aviation safety seminars and shuttle bus service to Freeport, airplane and helicopter rides and aircraft displays.

Clare Tosto, communications coordinator of the event, said many pilots skipped the fly-in to avoid getting stranded in Brunswick by the heavy rain, which isn’t expected to taper off until Monday.

The fly-in last year attracted pilots from around New England and as far away as the Midwest. On Saturday, the only planes landing were from Maine, including Mike Watson of Cape Elizabeth in his Cessna Cardinal and Jim Stenberg of Portland in the Bald Eagle Flying Club’s Cessna 172.

Both men, who flew from Portland International Jetport and are regular fly-in attendees, said the weather did not deter them.

“I love everthing that flies,” said Watson.

They were camping out at the fly-in campground ,which included a half-dozen tents and a couple of recreational vehicles.

About a half-dozen entries competed in the experimental aircraft contest, including Jim Lynch of Cumberland, who spent more than 30 years building his Teenie Two single-person airplane.

“It’s something I always wanted to do, build something and fly it around,” said Lynch, who has been flying for more than 50 years.

He is waiting for his aircraft to be certified to fly by the Federal Aviation Administration before taking it out for its maiden run. The aircraft features a Volkswagen Beetle engine and a hand-cranked propellor.

Peter Jansson of Brunswick said he couldn’t resist the show since his son, Sam, almost 2, is fascinated by aircraft. Sam showed his appreciation by pointing and repeatedly shouting “plane.”

The fly-in, which is free and open to the public, continues today from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 


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