Seaplanes Stroll Down Lakeport Streets

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Visitors to downtown Lakeport, Calif., were treated to an unusual site Thursday afternoon when two aircraft emerged from Clear Lake and taxied through the streets of downtown. The pilots and their aircraft were participating in a rehearsal for the Western States Seaplane Festival -- also known as the Clear Lake Splash-In -- that will take place September 22. The festival is billed as the "largest gathering of floatplanes and amphibious aircraft west of the Mississippi." This year, some of the aircraft will be parked on Main Street, where the public is invited to get close to a seaplane, talk with the pilots and participate in the festivities. Thursday's rehearsal "was designed to ensure that the considerable logistical concerns involved in the effort will go off without a hitch," according to festival spokesperson Damon Trimble. The pilots landed on Clear Lake and taxied up ramps normally used by boaters and fishermen.

From there, volunteers from the Lake County Airman’s Association guided the airplanes as they taxied through city streets along the same route they’ll use at the festival. According to Trimble, the rehearsal ensured that the aircraft’s wing span will clear phone poles, street signs and other obstacles on the downtown streets. Pilots Jennifer Martin and Ray Arceneaux donated their time and airplanes for the rehearsal.