GORDONVILLE — Nearly 300 pilots of all skill levels gathered throughout the weekend at Cedar Mills Marina for the 18th annual Cedar Mills South Central safety seminar and fly-in. Though many attendees camped along the shores of Lake Texoma, event organizers said the focus of the event was more on education than leisure.


“As you can see the room is full and people aren’t out lounging in the sun,” Joe Murphy, a Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team program manager, said Saturday. The annual, free event is organized by the FAA as a way to increase education and lower accident rates among pilots in Texas.


Pilots started arriving by air to the event Friday, with many pilots electing to camp along the edges of the grassy air strip within the marina. In total more than 90 aircraft were parked along the strip, Murphy said.


The main attraction, a series of educational seminars aimed at general aviation pilots, started Saturday morning. Topics ranged from becoming one with your aircraft to seminars on accidents and incidents. Murphy said some of this was as a refresher for pilots, while other topics were new to many in attendance.


One discussion during Saturday’s seminars focused on the importance of communication with control towers as a part of safety for all parties involved. Murphy said there is a misconception where many pilots believe ground control will often reroute aircraft unnecessarily.


“When you talk on the CB radio some people tend to be shy,” he added as another example.


The event ended Saturday with the annual close out dinner with veteran pilot Roger Shaw as guest speaker. Shaw’s career includes 24 years in the U.S. Air Force and 24 years with the FAA, Murphy said. Many of the pilots are expected to leave early Sunday morning.