Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn



The Knife & Fork



Breakfast Club Drops-in on Payson/Crosswind Cafe




8 June 2013

by Warren McIlvoy



Next to Sedona, Payson is most likely the second most popular destination for the proverbial “$300 hamburger” airplane crowd.  It is closer than Sedona but just far enough for those folks in the west valley to log the flight as a “cross county” odyssey.  Well, maybe just far enough to warm-up the engine oil anyway.  At about 5,300 feet in altitude, the early morning air is cool enough to make you forget (at least temporarily) the blazing afternoon temperatures back in the valley.  It is this very reason that Payson is a perennial favorite entry on the Breakfast Club annual schedule.


When departing out of Phoenix Deer Valley Airport on runway 7, a forty-five degree turn to the left will take you almost directly to Payson (PAN).  You can cross the Mazatzal Mountains just to the north of Mazatzal Peak at about 7,000’ on the direct line or elect to go around to the north at a lower altitude.  In the “saddle” (as I call it) of the mountains at that altitude, you are almost exactly 10-miles southwest of the Payson Airport.  It is at this point that you clearly hear the Payson AWOS to determine which runway is in use.  It is also a good point to broadcast your intentions to the other traffic in or nearing the pattern.  Due to the rather short time in route, there is not much time to talk to other Breakfast Club aircraft as it is only about 27-minutes (depending on aircraft and distance) from take-off to landing. 


All traffic is on the north side of the airport and from the “saddle” you can elect to swing-out to the north and enter a 45 entry to the downwind legs for both runways.  As is typical for a Saturday morning, and especially when the Breakfast Club visits, the small parking ramp in front of the restaurant was quickly filled thus requiring you to park on the ramp that is located to the east of the small ramp. 


I had called earlier in the week to reserve seating in the west dinning room that was added to the main building some years ago.  Back in the day, the Payson restaurant was little more than two small trailers joined together to from an “L”.  At that time, the cook was also the UNICOM operator and you did not always get a quick response for advisories if he was flipping flapjacks or scrambling eggs.  As memory serves, it was some time around the very late 80’s or early 90’s that the old structure was scrapped in favor for the much larger modular unit was installed.  The north side of the dinning room is dominated by large windows that offer a “million dollar” view of the ramp, runway, and the not too distance Mogollon Rim.  The décor is strictly aviation themed with a multitude of pictures of airplanes and noted pilots covering the available wall space.  The Crosswind Café has been long noted for its pretty good food and reasonable prices.  Although aviation is the game here, the local populace also is fully aware of this local gem as the parking lot is always packed with vehicles. 


It is very easy to get caught-up in the various conversations and comradery of the moment and I almost forgot to get some photos of the Breakfast Club group but it is the local scenery that garners the most attention so I did get plenty of outdoor shots.


Unfortunately, the time had arrived when it was time to head back to the blast furnace temperatures of the valley but it does not take much of an excuse to make a return trip here in the future.


The Payson Gathering


  • Warren & Jeri McIlvoy with Imran Jamali in 93MB, BC-1 & 1.5
  • Paul Fortune in 31870, BC-201
  • Ed & Paula Burchenal in 56EP
  • Jerry & Nancy Grout with Jeff & Liz Weiler in 1129T
  • Dan & Judy Bott in 9776E
  • Austin Erwin and Eric Durbin in 400DJ, BC-86
  • Greg Coomans and Rich Kupiec in 6693M, BC-48 & 47
  • Adam Rosenberg and Theresa Quinn in 8377W, BC-42
  • Roger Whittier in 706CD, BC-122
  • Jim Carter in 9586R
  • Tim Yoder and Trent Heidtke in 52TY, BC-56 & 112
  • Larry Jensen in 14LJ, BC-65
  • Peter Duran in 358TC
  • Richard Spiegel, Sam Foote, and Nancy Breitfeller in 901KA, BC-3   


What’s Next?


The July Breakfast Club event will be heading southeast to Benson, Arizona and to the Benson Airport where we will partake of the “can’t pass gas” pancake breakfast that is being put on by Southwest Aviation, the FBO at the airport.  August will see another scheduling switch form White River to White Mountain Lakes were we be enjoying another superior cook-out by Dana Myatt and Mark Ziemann.  That’s all for now but remember, fly safe.


To view photos of this event, just click on the Payson link.