The Breakfast Club
An Affliate of the Arizona Pilot's Assn.

The Knife & Fork


Breakfast Club Visits Marana, Sky Rider Cafe


10 Jul 2004
by Warren McIlvoy

There is a small general aviation airport that is a little northwest of Tucson, a tad south of Casa Grande, and west of I-10, that, surprising to me, that a few in our Breakfast Club group, have never been to in the past. Marana Northwest Regional (AVQ) a.k.a. Avra Valley, was the lucky recipient of a visit by the Breakfast Club group. It has been a number of years that we have had a scheduled event here although we have scheduled AVQ as an alternate if the weather had soured at our primary destination.

Our usual Saturday morning flying routine was just a bit different this time as we had to pick-up Richard Azimov (BC-2) at Deer Valley Airport and drive over to Scottsdale to depart form there. His plane was at Eloy for some avionics work and it was ready (dream on) to be picked-up. So our first leg after clearing the Phoenix Class B was to Eloy rather than Marana.  I choose to remain at 3500' and to enjoy (like one piece of desert scrub is different from another) the scenery. While at Eloy, I topped-off the fuel tanks since fuel there at $2.45 is .45 per gallon cheaper than at Scottsdale. Richard came back to the fuel island to inform me that everything was done except for some paperwork. When the "t's" were crossed and the "i's" dotted, he would then meet with the rest of the group at Marana.

I departed Eloy on runway 20 and continued in a westerly direction until reaching I-10 and then turned to the southeast to follow the "super slab" as I leveled-out at 3500'. I tuned-in on our air-to-air frequency to report in to the rest of the gang that were on their way. Since Marana was only about 35 miles down the road from Eloy, I did not stay on frequency very long as it was time to listen in on the goings-on at Marana.

The pattern chatter was quite busy and everyone was reporting over the cement plant that is along the Interstate. The cement plant is a very good entry point for the 45 degree entry to left downwind for Marana runway 12. After reporting the cement plant, I was number 3 on the downwind to the runway.
The Sky Rider Café is located near the approach end of runway 3 so it is somewhat of a long taxi to the restaurant parking. I got one of the last three spaces in the front row and there were more aircraft on the way.  Some folks parked on grass (?) across the ramp since the main parking area is located on the far side of the hangars.

The off-ramp areas are now enclosed by fencing with the requisite coded gate (don't forget to remember the code). The shaded walkway is painted to resemble the markings on a runway with the dashed lines and numbers at the ends. A "humpback" bridge crosses over a simulated "wash" and then it is free sailing to the restaurant door. I had called the café earlier in the week to let them know that the
Breakfast Club crowd would require seating for about 25 people. They had arranged two rows of long tables that were "reserved" for us so that we all able to sit together. The decor is nothing fancy but there is a definite aviation theme with pictures of assorted aircraft adoring the walls. The panoramic windows on the north side of the dinning area afford a great view of the "park-like" scene that occupies the area between the café and the ramp fencing. The food is pretty good and portions are ample. I would venture to say that the Sky Rider Café is just what an "airport restaurant" should be; good food at reasonable prices.

After getting some photos of the Breakfast Club folks in the café, I went out to the ramp to get some additional shots of some of the aircraft and other folks who had already drifted out there. To the west of the restaurant was about a dozen military aircraft that appeared to be prepared for painting or storage; I am not sure which but I favored the painting theory over storage as Davis- Monthan AFB at Tucson would be the more logical storage site. It was a little "toasty" on the ramp which provided another good reason to keep the summer trips aimed at places that would allow for shorter rides in the bumpy air on the way home. Our ride home at 4500' lent more credence to that theory (at least this time) as the ride was quite smooth with only an occasional jiggle.

The Marana Gang

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 4544X, BC-1
  • Bob Jackson in 66CW
  • Allan Wallace in 33RX, BC-39
  • Larry Jensen and Tim Yoder in 14LJ
  • Jon Miller and Darren Loftis in 7173A
  • Alex Rayes and David Lester in 32832
  • Richard & Jo Kaufman in 1157A
  • Richard Speigel and Sam Foote in 5331V, BC-3
  • Glen Yoder, BC-007
  • Pat Smith, Alec Smith, and Lauren Smith in 732HC, BC-21
  • Steve Bass and Ken Calman in 3505R
  • Bert & Dee Davis in 44806

What's on Tap?

The August event is slated for a return trip to Prescott, Arizona and the Skyway Café. And if that is not enough to cause a fit of excitement, then our September event to the Grand Canyon and the Grand Canyon Inn, will surely grab your attention. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

Click on the Marana link to view photos of this fly-in event.