by Randy Strebig
Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2018/January 2019 issue
The 16th Annual Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association Splash-In at Pokagon State Park in Angola, Indiana, was held September 22-23, 2018. Once again, the event had a 100% safety record and a lot of smiles. There was an excellent showing of aircraft with the official count at 20, including a very special guest appearance by Peter Bowers and his beautiful Waco. Bowers flew an impressive demonstration on Sunday. All pilots did a top-notch, professional job of flying, and the Angola community came out to Pokagon State Park and the Potawatomi Inn to enjoy the amazing weather.
The entire Midwest had wonderful weather conditions for flights to and from the splash-in. This allowed pilots from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio to participate.
In all, 107 seaplane rides were given away in a free drawing. The following pilots shared their aircraft fuel and time: Chuck Marshal from Elkhart, Indiana with his crowd favorite de Havilland Beaver; Allison Wheaton, flying a locally-based Maule M-7; Doug Schenkel of Lake James in his Cessna 172XP; Matt Perry of Snow Lake in his Cessna 172; Wally Hain of northern Illinois in his Cessna 170; and Daniel Kohr in his Sedan. There was a real special moment when one of the winners donated her ride to a veteran who had never been in a seaplane before.
The following organizations provided assistance: the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; State Parks Administration; the staff of Pokagon State Park; park manager Ted Bohman, along with his assistant, Tammy Sawvel, who was on duty for the event; Potawatomi Inn Manager Emily Burris and staff; Terry Hallet, who manages the Angola Airport, and his staff; and a lot of volunteers who assisted with setup, teardown and the safety of the event.
A Saturday evening barbecue and bonfire was held at my runway on the other side of the lake with the Lakes Lions Club preparing the evening meal. A few airplanes on wheels came for this event, as did a couple of campers. We also dropped one load of skydivers (myself included) from our seaplane flown by Allison Wheaton. One of the jumpers – Rick Rumple – carried the American flag on his jump.
The Lake James Association, which has been a sponsor of this event all 16 years running, and the Steuben County Visitors and Tourism Bureau, are to be commended for their support. This year they again made and gave away 500 toy seaplanes. The Herald Republican and Swick Broadcasting provided great coverage of the fly-in. New support this year came from Wipaire, which donated 150 fun meters.
The largest aircraft parking safety crew in the event’s history, included ramp boss, Joe Sweeney; waterfront boss, Joe Willig; their teams; and The Lake James Association, Tri State Flying Club, and the Steuben County Board of Aviation Commissioners.
Dale and Nadine Strebig, and the Rutledge family, took care of registration and the distribution of the free raffle tickets.
The 17th Annual Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association Splash-In will be held September 21-22, 2019 at Pokagon State Park in Angola, Indiana.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Randy Strebig of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is President of the Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association, and the Field Director in Indiana for the Seaplane Pilots Association.