Fly-In Pancake Breakfast Season Is Upon Us

Food-themed gatherings connect airports with their neighbors.

The classic pancake breakfast has a strong connection to aviation. [iStock]

Pancake breakfasts and other food-themed get-togethers are staples of community outreach and fundraising for general aviation airports. They are nice, social alternatives to eating in a restaurant, giving pilots and their families a ready-made destination for a weekend morning flight. Typically, the party is over before lunchtime so you have the afternoon for other activities, like mowing the lawn.

Milder weather and increasingly picturesque foliage make late summer and fall a good time for these gatherings, and many have cropped up on airport calendars across the U.S. Check your local FBO or word-of-mouth network for happenings near your home airport. Below are some events we would like to check out.

Visitors at Eastern Slope Aviation Academy's fly-in will have an opportunity to try out its Red Bird flight simulator. [Courtesy: Eastern Slope Aviation Academy]

Annual Aviation Day, Eastern Slope Aviation Academy

Eastern Slopes Regional Airport (KIZG)
Fryeburg, Maine, August 27

This isn’t exactly a pancake breakfast as only coffee and doughnuts are available to start, but the hosts make up for that later with a barbecue lunch and an ice cream truck. Besides, there is more to this event than food. The group will offer free discovery flights over the nearby White Mountains and a chance to use their Redbird flight training device. Pilots can enter a spot-landing competition and there are contests for paper and balsa-wood model airplanes for younger aviation enthusiasts. There is even an aviation-themed flea market. The gathering runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, with donations appreciated. For more information:

Wittman Airport Fly-In Breakfast and Airport Expo

Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH)
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, September 10

It seems like there is always something going on in Oshkosh. The dust that was kicked up during EAA AirVenture in July will have settled by the time EAA Chapter 252 holds this annual event, which includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, plus scrambled eggs, sausage, milk, juice, and, of course, coffee. There will be free airplane rides, weather permitting, for children from 8 to 17 years old as part of the EAA’s Young Eagles program. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children under 10. Pilots of homebuilt aircraft who fly in get free admission. You can register Young Eagles here and find out more about EAA Chapter 252 here. The event runs from 7:30 to 11 a.m.

Joliet Airport Festival

Joliet Regional Airport (KJOT)
Joliet, Illinois, September 18

A pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with sausage, juice, and coffee costs $7 for adults and $4 for kids 10 and under. The event includes activities for children; warbird displays; airplane and helicopter rides for $40; and a classic car show sponsored by the local Coachmen Car Club. The event runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and admission is free. While you are at Joliet, be sure to visit the airport’s main hangar, a classic design that was ahead of its time when constructed in 1930. It was named to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

A view of Lake County Airport. [iStock]

Fall Colors Fly-In at America’s Highest Airport

Lake County Airport (KLXV)
Leadville, Colorado, September 24

Flying into the highest airport in North America is an exciting prospect. The Leadville Air Center FBO will even issue you a certificate of navigation just for getting there. Seriously, though, at 9,933.5 feet, the ground at Leadville is higher than typical cruising altitude for many GA pilots. Approach with care and thorough planning, especially if you’re not accustomed to high-altitude operations. The airport’s operators say companies including Bell Helicopters, Boeing (NYSE: BA), Sikorsky Helicopters, and Bombardier/Learjet have used the airport for high-altitude testing. A breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, and hashbrowns costs $7 per person, and the event runs from 8 to 11 a.m.

Tenkiller Fly-in Pancake Breakfast

Tenkiller Lake Airpark (44M)
Cookson, Oklahoma, September 24

This is an all-you-can-eat breakfast, and donations are welcome. The airpark allows tent camping for pilots who fly in. Fuel is available. The event is hosted in the hangar belonging to T3 Aerosports, a flight training operation that specializes in basic, tailwheel, and aerobatic instruction.

This part of Oklahoma is peppered with small airfields including Painting Planes Airport (1PP), Snake Creek Wilderness Airport (OK06), Tahlequah Municipal Airport (KTQH), Gustafson Airport (OK34), and Neversweat Too Airport (89OK), which is about 73 nm from Neversweat Airport (1OK0). For more event information, call 918-457-4774.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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