Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn

The Knife & Fork

Breakfast Club Visits Whiteriver, Escapes Airport

(Editor's Note:  I want to thank Trent Heidtke and John Rynearson for writing this article and suppling the photos for the story.)

19 Dec 2009
by Trent Heidtke

We had quite the adventure for the 14 people (in 8 planes) who dared the winds aloft (in some places near 40 mph on the nose) to be rewarded at Whiteriver with absolutely clam conditions and a crisp 30 degrees. Excellent weather for flying. Anyway, I think it was Adam Rosenberg that was first down amongst the group, but he had arrived intentionally early to get a bit of a run in before breakfast. Larry Jensen was the first of the main gaggle to arrive and did the scouting on the winds. He landed on 19, but the rest of the group favored 1 since it was on a bit of an uphill slope.

Soooo, here we are all, some landed, some landing and Adam comes up to Tim, Larry and I and announces that we are basically locked in. Yep, not an open gate on the property - and - nobody around - and - no cell reception. Hmmmmm, what to do, what to do.

Well, I took off on a scouting mission and located a breach in one part of a fence behind one of the Department of Interior buildings. I had to walk a pretty tight line next to the building but managed to skinny through one spot, only to be met with more fence and barbed wire. Never one to give up, I followed that fence line until yep, another small breach to skinny through. So, here I am, outside looking in, trying to impart directions to the rest of the group and lo and behold, one of the BLM guys shows up and reluctantly but graciously opens the gate for the rest of the group. Lucky he came when he did as I am not so sure all would have fared well to make it out using the circuitous route I took to "escape". Guess we were living good today. Anyway, we talked him into leaving the gate open while we wandered off to breakfast with the understanding that we would close it back up when we left.

Having negotiated our way out of the airport, we all walked the short distance to the restaurant. They were very accommodating albeit not really expecting us. We sat in the normally closed/reserved section and had a pleasant enough waitress who took good care of us. I'd say a good time was had by all as we all decided to head back to the planes. On the way back, most of the group took a slight detour to peer over the bridge at the North end of the airport looking down into the small canyon (gulch) that borders the airport property to the East.

That done, all headed back through the still open gate and yes, the last one through did close it as we had promised (I double checked as we were taxiing out). Anyway, the only other excitement on the day was a curious Indian Tribal cop who was peering through binoculars at us, presumably getting our tail numbers as we all taxied out to 10 for lift off. Not sure what that was all about, but I guess he was just checking up on the "invasion from the air". Probably the most planes he has seen three since the last time we all flew in.

We were all graced with a nice tailwind on the way home - and - not a bump in the sky. Bright sun, crisp day, again, what a great day for flying.

That is about it for this installment Warren. As I said, I hope all is well with you and the plane and everyone did truly miss you.

Your faithful stand in (for this event)


Side Note

The forest official who finally let us out of the airport, noted that they are moving into a new facility just across the road which is outside of the airport perimeter. When the move is complete, the management of the airport will be turned over to the White Mountain Apache Tribe. This guy expressed concern that the upkeep on the airport would deteriorate. Hopefully not in that it is a nice little airport that should be an asset to the community.

The Whiteriver Escapees

What's Next?

The Breakfast Club event in January 2010 will mark the beginning of the 17th year if monthly fly-in events.  With that in mind, we will fly to the world renowned Ajo, Arizona and dine at the "country club" that is part of the adjoining golf course.  In February, we will be traveling west to Lake Havasu City and landing at the "new" airport.

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