Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn

The Knife & Fork

Breakfast Club Visits Lake Havasu/Makai Cafe

13 February 2010
by Warren McIlvoy

The 2010 Breakfast Club Event Calendar is getting off to a rousing start with our first ever fly-in to Lake Havasu City via the "new" Lake Havasu Airport. We went to HII several years ago but we landed on the Chemehuevi Valley airport on the Indian Reservation on the California side of the Colorado River. Following breakfast at the Casino (what's a reservation without a casino?), we boarded the fairy boat for the ride across Lake Havasu. The boat ride was rather relaxing and it docked right at the foot of the London Bridge. I had been to Lake Havasu City on 2 or 3 occasions in the past and landed at the old airport that was established on the "island".

The avoidance of the Havasu Airport was prompted by the lack of transportation into town and hiring a cab or van would very costly. However, a couple of years ago, the City began regular shuttle service to and from the airport at a much more appealing cost. With the onset of a tumbling economy, the city ceased the shuttle service and we were back to square one. Along about the middle of last year, one of the FBO's (there are 3 of them), Desert Skies Aviation, started to provide the use of their 7-passenger vans. I called them and they said that they had two of them and that I could reserve them for our fly-in. To make things a bit more alluring, Desert Skies had the best fuel price on the field. What more could you ask for?

The day of our fly-in, the weather was picture perfect with not a cloud to be seen anywhere. The winds were essentially non-existent and a smooth ride at 4500' was to be expected. The Luke airspace was inop so once I got west of the Deer Valley airspace, I checked-in on our "group flight following" frequency. I thought that I had gotten an early start but was somewhat surprised that some folks were already west of Alamo Lake.

I plotted a direct course to HII that will take you over Wickenburg Airport (E25), Alamo Lake, and then just a slight jog to the south of avoid depositing metal shards all over Grossman Peak that is just to the east of the Havasu Airport. Coming from the south or east, one might expect to cross over mid field to enter left downwind for runway 32 but this is an admonishment about doing that here. The more prudent practice is to cross over mid field at pattern +500' and do a "tear drop" entry into the downwind. There was a bit to traffic on this particular Saturday so this maneuver worked-out just fine.

I made the first turn-off but was unsure as to where Desert Skies ( was located. The ramp was nearly full with Saturday traffic and after continuing on the taxiway a bit, I spotted the FBO and parked in the first available "transient" space that I could find. I was first approached by the D2Aero cart and was promptly asked if I needed fuel. I informed the lineman that we would be using Desert Skies today. After securing our aircraft, we walked down the ramp a bit to greet some of the other Breakfast Club folks as well as the cart from Desert Skies. After taking some photos of the ramp area, we started to walk over to the FBO. We were offered a ride in the cart but it was less than a 100 yards to the office and the weather was so nice that we thankfully declined the offer.

I secured two volunteers to drive the vans and the number of folks on hand worked-out to just three trips total to get to the restaurant. I went with the first wave since I needed to make first contact with the folks at the Makai Café ( I had made reservations for 20-30 people and after a 12-minute ride from the airport, we arrived in the upper level parking lot of the little mall that housed the café. The Makai Café was on the lower level over looking the channel and boat docks. They had our tables waiting so we were quickly seated. I told them that there was one more van load to arrive and that I would hold off ordering until they arrived. This gave me an opportunity to get some photos of the boating activity in the channel that flowed under the bridge as well as the folks in attendance.

If you are not familiar with some of the history of Lake Havasu City, I will insert some items of interest from Wikipedia:

The City

Lake Havasu City was established in 1964 by Robert P. McCulloch (of McCulloch chainsaws) as a planned community. McCulloch had purchased 3,500 acres of property on the east side of Lake Havasu along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the island". The city was incorporated in 1978. The present city grew around an old mining town established in the early 20th century.

The lake was formed in 1938 by Parker Dam on the Colorado River. One cannot reach the Grand Canyon by watercraft from Lake Havasu, however, due to the dams: Davis Dam (creating Lake Mohave) and Hoover Dam (creating Lake Mead) and Parker Dam.


A popular tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City is the London Bridge, which crosses a 930 ft (280 m) long man-made canal that leads from Lake Havasu (on the Colorado River) to Thompson Bay. It was bought for US $2.5 million from the City of LondonLake Havasu City and reassembled for another US $7 million. It opened in October 1971. The one interesting bit of history regarding the "re-construction" of the bridge is that, it was constructed over dry land and once completed, a channel was dug from the lake and then back to the lake on the other side thus forming the "island".


Lake Havasu City is an active destination for a wide range of people. During the spring months, the community is joined by university students during Spring Break (indeed, the city has a reputation for being a spring break party town while the California boaters begin to stream in as the weather warms. March to September are the prime boating months on Lake Havasu. The city is also home to the International World Jet Ski Final Races, multiple professional fishing tournaments, custom boat regattas, the Western Winter Blast pyrotechnics convention, and the HavasuHalf Marathon.

During the winter months, the community is joined by retirees from colder regions of the country and Canada. During this period, multiple events are held on McCulloch Boulevard.

My airplane partner had been to the Makai Café several time in the past but did not remember the name. During my conversation with the folks at Desert Skies, they suggested that it was indeed the Makai Café and gave me the phone number so that I could contact them and make reservations.

The insides of the café were wall-to-wall people and all of the tables on the patio were filled but the outside setting is far superior particularly when the weather is as nice as it was today. The beautifully designed landscaping was lush and green but still allowed a view of the boating activity in the channel plus we had a great view of the ever present, London Bridge. The bridge provided some photo ops before we began the trek back to the airport.

Our group was in the last van trip back to the airport and when we arrived, most of the folks were attending to preparing for our return trip to the valley. The fueling counter was busy as they had some of the best fuel prices in the state. It was plainly obvious that the fuel trucks had been very busy.

Our return route was just a reverse of the inbound leg but we were at 5500' with the same smooth air as in the morning. It now seems that we have found a new destination and eating facility that will be kept for future fly-in possibilities although I believe that the months of June, July, August, and September would not include Lake Havasu plans.

The Lake Havasu Party

What's Next?

Out March Breakfast Club event will see a return to an old favorite, Seligman, Arizona and Lilo's West Side Café. In April, we will be traveling to Bagdad, Arizona (not Iraq), with a breakfast at a local eatery and then an in-depth tour of the Bagdad Copper Mining operation. We have done this mine tour in the past and it is truly fascinating. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

Click on the Havasu link to view photos of this event.