The Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn



The Knife & Fork



Breakfast Club Drops-in On Payson/Crosswind Restaurant






14 Jan 2012

by Warren McIlvoy


What a way to kick-off our 18th year of monthly fly-in events by visiting a local favorite and old stand-by like Payson, Arizona.  The weather was bright and sunny all-be-it on the chilly side.  The flight from Deer Valley Airport to Payson is a mere 52 miles and only about 27-minutes so it is just long enough to get the engine oil warm and to enjoy a brief flight over the mountains northeast of the Phoenix Metro area.  The only mountains worthy of the title are the Mazatzal Mountains that form the eastern border of the greater metropolitan area that we call home.


Other than the Mazatzals, the only really significant landmark is the northern most lake on the Verde River chain and that being Horseshoe Lake.  At this time of the year, to call Horseshoe Lake a lake is somewhat of a euphemism.  To accommodate runoff from the mountain snows in the winter time, the Salt River Project normally draws-down the lake to nothing by letting the water flow downstream into Bartlett Lake leaving a green lakebed and a dam that looks a little out of place as there is no water behind it.  Horseshoe Lake is in its glory in the late spring to early summer when the mountains have given-up the precious snowpack to fill the Verde and Salt River lakes. 


Since this is a pretty short flight, there was not much time to fill the airways with our usual Breakfast Club banter.  Just prior to reaching the ridgeline of the Mazatzals, you can pick-up the Payson AWOS with the vital airport information regarding weather conditions at the airport.  Upon reaching the ridgeline that is almost exactly 10-miles southwest of the Payson Airport, you can get a pretty good picture of the traffic conditions in the pattern.


About 5-years ago, all of the traffic patterns at Payson had been moved to the north side of the airport making right traffic for 24 and left traffic for runway 6.  Since there was little to no wind today, the runway of choice was 24.  As you might expect with perfect weather conditions, traffic was fairly heavy.  I could hear an aircraft approaching from the south that would do a mid-field crossover along with three or four others that would be entering the pattern via a right downwind for 24.  To give myself plenty of “elbow” room, I announced a “right 45” to the downwind in order to give me sufficient spacing between me and all the other traffic.  By the time that I had touched-down, two other and joined the pattern so I made it a point to make the first turn-off.  I taxied past the small parking ramp that is immediately in front of the restaurant and proceeded to the east ramp where there was still sufficient parking space available.  After getting some photos of the activity on the ramp, we commenced the short hike to the Crosswinds Restaurant. 


Knowing that Saturday is usually a pretty busy day at the Crosswinds, I had called earlier in the week to reserve the west dinning area as I had guessed that we would have somewhere around 30 starving aviators for this event.  As it was, we had 34 folks attend that left a single table open in this area.


The Crosswinds Restaurant started-out (just prior to the 1980’s) with two small single-wide trailers link together to form an “L”.  The Unicom was monitored by the cook who served double duty as “master chef” and Unicom operator.  I always smiled at the thought of this guy flipping flapjacks with one hand and talking on the radio with the other.  About 15-20 years ago, this quaint operation was transformed when a modular structure was assembled to more than triple the floor space and the Unicom duties were handed-off to a small office in a separate building that was at the west end of the small parking ramp.  Not too long after the restaurant was enhanced, additional square footage was added at the west end to more than double the dinning area.


So as to not forget its aviation heritage, the Crosswinds was decorated with a plethora to aviation photos and the north walls have large picture windows to provide an expansive vista of the Mogollon Rim in the distance along with an overview of the ramp and runway activities.  The Crosswinds Restaurant was known as “the restaurant with the million dollar view”.


The Crosswinds Restaurant is not only a favorite of the “$100 hamburger” crowd; it is also very popular with the local folks.  The food is pretty good for an airport restaurant and the prices will make you to want to come back for more. 


Our group had a couple of the Crosswinds staff assigned to us and in short order they had taken our orders and kept the coffee cups filled with “rocket fuel”.  Considering that the restaurant was filled to capacity, I thought that they were able to deliver our orders in very good time.  After placing our orders, I was able to move around the room to get some photos of the Breakfast Club gang.


Back out on the ramp and just before loading-up for our return flight, I took a few photos of some departing aircraft along with some ramp scenes.  If our Payson event is any indication, we should have a very appealing year of fly-in events.


The Payson Entourage


  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 93MB, BC-1 & 1.5
  • Mert Bean and Mert Bean Jr in 5832Q
  • Richard Spiegel, Sam Foote, Kenny & Julie and Trevor in 901KA, BC-3 & 3.5
  • Richard Azimov and Allan Wallace in 6864Q, BC-2 & 39
  • Mark and Bill Hess in 4280W
  • Larry Jensen in 14LJ, BC-65
  • Peter Ducan in 358JC
  • Roger Whittier, River Song, Hal Jordan, and Rick Birch in 706CD, BC-122
  • Tim Yoder and Trent Heidtke in 52TY, BC-52
  • Adam Rosenberg and Carl in 4372J, BC-72
  • Rich Kupiec and Austin Erwin in 6693M, BC-47 & 86
  • Greg Coomans, John Stetler, Barbara Seabert, and Jim Palmer in 9313H, BC-48
  • Chris Zollars in 7380T
  • Marguerite Baier and Joe Horvath in 8182B
  • Bob & Dalia Bureker in 44669


What’s Next?


The February Breakfast Club event will be to another old friend and favorite with that being Marana Northwest Regional, AVQ (or Avra Valley as we used to know it).  This was our first fly-in destination some 18-years ago.  In March, we will be going to Globe, Arizona, P13 and the Apache Gold Resort and Casino.  That’s all for now but remember, fly safe.


To view photos of this fly-in event, just click on the link below.


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