Breakfast Club
An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilot's Assn.


The Knife & Fork



Breakfast Club Visits Payson, Crosswinds Restaurant



12 Jun 2004
by Warren McIlvoy

The June Breakfast Club event saw the BC squad head for a place that has never been a primary event destination. Payson, a mere 50-60 nautical miles depending on which valley airport that you depart from, has been an alternate destination when the weather has gone south at our primary target. Another nice thing about a "close-in" breakfast target is that it allows for a leisurely morning routine as it is a short hop and, on the way home, you’re not getting beat-up by afternoon turbulence. The one snag in the morning plans was getting out of Scottsdale. I had planned on getting the "wheels-in-the-well" by 0830 that would put us at Payson by 0900. Traffic at Scottsdale had those plans going down in flames in a "New York minute".

We arrived at the Scottsdale Airport in plenty of time to load-up our trusty aircraft with the morning gear and our Grand-Daughter who we were going to shuttle on over the Show Low after the
Breakfast Club festivities at Payson. It was in the run-up area that things began to deteriorate in a hurry. The pre-takeoff checks went routinely but traffic began to amass faster than Imelda Marcos could buy shoes. Throw-in, for good measure, a new controller who needed 747 spacing on all aircraft and the likelihood of departing at 0830 evaporated like rain over Phoenix. We sat at the "hold short" line for more than 20 minutes while the temperatures in the aircraft rose like the cost of gasoline during the pipeline break. At last, at about 0855, we got clearance to depart runway 3 straight-out.

The ride to Payson was routine and smooth as is typical at this time of the morning. It was at Payson that things got a little more interesting as this was our first venture at Payson with the new traffic pattern on the north side of the runway. There was enough traffic to keep it interesting but not to cause any irregular flows as there was enough chatter to verify where everyone was in the pattern. Parking was at a premium as the east ramp was closed due to the Forest Service setting-up facilities to accommodate fire-fighting aircraft (little did they know at the time). The small ramp in front of the restaurant was also posted as being "reserved" but for what I had no clue. We ended-up on the east side of the camp grounds that separated that ramp from the far west ramp area.

Adding to the congestion was an EAA, Young Eagles event that blocked the taxiway on the north side of the hangars. And if that was not enough, besides the
Breakfast Club gang, there was also another group of "tail-dragger" enthusiasts to mix into the fold. If you thought ramp parking was at a premium, seating in the restaurant was also scarce. The Breakfast Club gang was seated in the "patio" portion of the restaurant along with the "tail-dragger" folks. Payson has long been a favorite of the "$100 hamburger" gang for many years. I can remember the days when the restaurant consisted of two, small single trailers, joined together at right angles. Seating was about a quarter of what it is now and the cook was also the radio operator. In those days, calling-in for "advisories" was a bit of a hit or miss operation depending on how busy the cook was. Parking was limited to the front and east sides of the restaurant and the weather reporting station was a rock suspended from the juncture of three sticks joined at the top. If the rock was swinging, it was windy. If the top of the rock was white, it was snowing. And if the rock was gone, there were tornados in the area. Payson is also considered by many to be the quintessential GA airport. A small town airport inhabited by a wide variety of aircraft ranging from the "near" antique; many of the more contemporary models; to some of the newest "plastic" wonders with the latest in flight deck bells and whistles. It is not uncommon to see folks sitting on the elevated walkways on the north side of the restaurant and watching the aircraft activity on the runway and ramps. A little bit of modern day Americana akin to a Norman Rockwell painting. And to make these entire ingredients blend together to make this such a favorite place, is the food is just good enough to make you want to come back again, and again.

As the Payson portion of the weekend's activities drew to a close, we boarded our aircraft again only this time, our Grand-Daughter, Nicole Dreos got the co-pilot's seat as it was her turn to fly the aircraft. This was not her first trip with us as she and her dad enjoyed a trip to Sedona when Nicole was 6 years old. Nicole also attended a
Breakfast Club event to the Grand Canyon and the El Tovar Hotel about 3 years ago. We departed Payson runway 24 with a right down-wind departure and a course that would somewhat parallel the Mogollon Rim on our way to Show Low. By this time, the air had become rather cantankerous and holding a heading or altitude was almost impossible. I let Nicole have the controls but she had a difficult time seeing out the front window even though we had her sitting on a cushion. She would strain to look out the window but her attention to the control movements would diminish and soon her head would be down and staring at the control wheel. I would give her instructions on which way to move the yolk and she would comply to a degree and after about ten minutes of this "fun" activity, I was informed that she was getting tired and that it was my "turn to drive". It was nap time.

The winds at Show Low were under 10 knots and favored the shorter runway 21. An uneventful landing and taxi to the transient parking and it was time to enjoy some cooler weather for the rest of the weekend. Nicole's younger brother Conner was staying with their other Grand- Parents who had a summer home in Pinetop and as a reward for bringing Nicole up there, we were asked if we were interested in staying for the weekend. Now let me think about this for a moment; cooler weather, Pinetop, dinning on the deck overlooking the Pinetop Lakes Country Club, cooler weather, an early Sunday evening flight home, ahhhh................................. It took all of maybe 3 to 4...........seconds to determine that this would be a great way to spend the weekend.

On Sunday morning, I awoke at about 0600 and, as is my normal morning routine, I prepared to take my usual two mile morning hike. I donned my shorts, tee shirt, and walking shoes and exited the door to the wood deck at the rear of the house overlooking the golf course. Burrrrrrrrrrrrrr, big mistake. I got about ten feet out there and quickly came to the conclusion that I was not properly clad for hiking in weather that was in the low 40's. Quickly retracing my steps back into the house, it was on with the long pants, a shirt over the tee shirt, and a borrowed jacket from my wife, and then it was back outside to challenge the brisk morning chill. I followed the cart path for about a mile or so which afford me the time to admire the beauty of the golf course and the homes nestled in the trees that line the perimeter of the fairways. I could easily get used to a life style such as this, could not afford it, but yet, I could get used to this.

We departed Show Low at about 1830 for the one hour flight back to reality and the hot valley weather. The ride was much smoother than the flight from Payson even with a slight head wind. All in all, a great weekend, aviating, fellowship with flying buddies, a weekend in the White Mountains and Pinetop, cooler weather, and enjoying the grand kids. What more could one ask for?

The Payson Gang

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy and Nicole Dreos in 4544X, BC-1
  • Glen & Judy Yoder in 31TC, BC-007
  • Paul Wright in 25ER
  • Roger Whittier and Travis Whittier in 706CD, BC-122
  • Gary Hedges in Yak 52TW, BC-99
  • Richard Azimov, Richard Spiegel, and Nancy Shore in 901KA, BC-2 & 3
  • David & Mike Lester in 1032Z
  • Richard DeWitt in 473W
  • Ed McMahan and Mike Robison in 2433B, BC-33
  • Asa & Cheryl Dean in 48803, BC-52
  • Trent Heidtke in 4638W, BC-112
  • Vic Hanning & Nancy Rogers in 34086, BC-177
  • Bert & Dee Davis in 44806

What's On Tap?

July will see the
Breakfast Club make another short trip to Marana Northwest Regional (aka Avra Valley). It has been a while since we have been there as a group and AVQ deserves an encore visit. August will see us visiting another familiar place, Prescott, Arizona. The last time that we were here, I came up with Arv Schultz in his Waco the week before the engine went south on him. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.


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