Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn




The Knife & Fork





Breakfast Club Drops-in on Kearny/West End Café





9 July 2011

by Warren McIlvoy




It has been a long time since the Breakfast Club last visited Kearny.  So much so that I had forgotten most everything that I once knew about the airstrip.  One reason was that the only restaurant that we had any first hand knowledge of was the General Kearny Café, closed a number of years ago.  Another reason was that transportation into town was a bit spotty and it was entirely too far to walk.  However, during the meeting of the crack(ed) Breakfast Club Event Committee last November, we learned about a new (to us anyway) restaurant that was very near the airstrip.  The name was a bit uncertain but that it was supposed to be within walking distance just in case transportation was not available.  With that bit information that we had, Kearny was added to the 2011 Breakfast Club itinerary.  Later, when I had access to my computer, I did a search of restaurants in Kearny and found one that appeared to be the place in question.  The West End Café, per the map, seemed to fit the description of being the closest to the airport. 


Since Kearny was only about a 35-minute flight from Deer Valley and we were now well into the summer flying season, it fit that this should be an 0800 arrival rather than our usual 0900 arrival time slot.  The short flying distance coupled with the earlier arrival time would help insure that we could get back home and mitigate the bumpy air and sweltering afternoon temperatures.  Our route from DVT would take us to our favorite intersection (GRINE) that is just to the north of Saguaro Lake with a turn to the southeast along “Copper Row”.  We would skirt the western edge of the Superstition Mountains to Superior and then start a gradual let-down to Kearny (E67).  Kearny is surrounded on three sides by mountains so we looked for a “gap” where we could turn to the east to get on the other side of the ridgeline.  Where we made the transition brought us into the valley north of the town of Kearny and almost over the open-pit copper mine.  We still need some altitude to clear the high terrain which made a base-let entry into the pattern, somewhat impractical.  The more prudent arrival would be to fly over the departure end of runway 26 and fly an upwind pattern on the south side of the airstrip.  A left turn near the arrival end of 26 would set us up for a left downwind arrival for runway 8.  Due to the rising terrain at the west end of the airstrip, I pulled-off all of the power and dropped all of the flaps to execute a short approach to a landing on runway 8.  Since there are no taxiways at Kearny and the parking is at the east end of the airstrip, this is the most prudent arrival procedure particularly if you are part of a group since that would not be any need to back-taxi on the runway to get to the ramp parking. 


I was the second to arrive so I had not problem in finding a ramp parking space.  The ramp parking is not overly abundant (remember, this is a very small mining community) but we did have enough to accommodate our six aircraft.  After securing my aircraft, I walked down to the west end of the ramp area where most of the arrivals were gathering and to meet another person whom I believed to be Roger, the owner of Little Flyers, the lone maintenance facility on the airport.  As it turned-out, he was and he pointed out the “airport limo” that would be our livery for the morning.  Before departing for the restaurant, I took a group photo in front of a sign that identified us actually being at the Kearny Airport.  The “airport limo” would only accommodate a total five people at a time so some folks opted to start their hike to the restaurant.  I headed-out with the first load for what was about a 1.2 mile trip.  After dropping them off, I headed back to the airport for the next load.  They had started out walking so I picked them up just short of arriving at the airstrip.  We soon passed the first group of hikers and I asked them if they would want me to come back to get them but they felt that they would continue the walk to the restaurant.


The West End Café (520-363-9564) is located just to the north of a trailer park in an old masonry building.  The décor certainly had no aviation atmosphere but it did have the feel of a small town where everybody knew everyone else.  Our group of 13 was seated at two tables which made the conversations a little bit easier.  The menu selections was not overly large but more than adequate for our group but what did surprise me were that the prices more reflected those of a small town, in other words, very affordable.  Breakfast for my wife and I was a mere $15.00.  I had ordered a ham and cheese omelet that had potatoes and a toasted English muffin and it was all I could manage with having downed less than half of the potatoes.  Another member ordered the breakfast burrito and I think that he could only eat half of it.  The portions are definitely large. 


After breakfast, I got some photos in café before commencing the shuttle process back to the airport.  I was strange that no body opted to hike back so I am not sure if they ate too much or the hike was longer than they thought.  Three trips had everyone back at the airstrip.  We decided to have folks taxi back in groups of two or three as there was a “tear-drop” turn-off at the end of the runway.  I stopped to talk to Roger at bit as he was working on an aircraft in the end hangar.  I was in the last group of three for take-off and since there was more open space to the east, we were able to gain some altitude before making a left cross-wind departure to the north.  I continued on course until reaching the “gap” and then transitioning to the west side of the ridgeline.  The air had some chop but not too bad as we progressed northward towards our intersection course change.  Now that we have all been reintroduced to Kearny and found the West End Café to our liking, I think that the next trip to Kearny will be much shorter time span than in the past.


The Kearny Gang



What’s Next?


Our August fly-in event will see us make our first ever fly-in to Taylor, Arizona with a visit to Trappers Café.  I have been to both Taylor and Trappers before and I can guaranty that this will be a very enjoyable location.  Our September event will be an overnight fly-in to Flagstaff, Arizona.  Not sure where we will eat or stay at this time but plans are underway.  We may opt to take the chairlift at the Snow Bowl up to the top of the mountain and then maybe a tour of the Lowell Observatory.  That’s all for now but remember, fly safe.


To view photos of this fly-in event, just click on Kearny Event