The Breakfast Club

An Affiliate of the Arizona Pilots Assn


The Knife & Fork



Breakfast Club Visits Nogales, Angie’s Cafe



9 Aug 2003
by Warren McIlvoy

Last month, the Breakfast Club went north, or more exactly, northeast, for what was supposed to be cooler weather. That is not precisely what we got. It was more of the heat that we normally get here in the valley. This month, we went south to get away from the oppressive heat. Ordinarily, in Arizona, that is not what you get when you travel south. Nogales, Arizona was our destination and cooler climes are what we got.

Heading south out of Scottsdale, you can almost always count-on getting the "west transition" but today we got the "east transition" and once south of South Mountain, we "resumed navigation" directly towards Nogales. Once outside the Class B airspace, I tuned-in our air-to-air frequency to see who was going south with us this morning. The first voice to respond was one that I have not heard for almost two years. Don Downin, aka BC-10, spoke-up with the morning's greetings. For those new to the Breakfast Club circuit, Don has a pristine, Cherokee 140 with a 160 hp conversion, and it is all polished aluminum with red accent stripping. His aircraft has been featured in several aviation magazines and he has also won numerous awards for his efforts. It was sure pleasurable to hear an old, familiar voice. There was also some other frequent voices on the line as well as some that I had never heard before. From their position reports, I thought that I would be the last to arrive at Nogales but I discovered later that there were some others that had just cleared the Class B airspace. Visibility was not the greatest due to the humid conditions but the air was glass smooth and the head winds were only slight.

After passing Picacho Peak to the west, I came abeam Pinal County Airpark that has evolved into a vast storage facility for aging airliners and other lest efficient aircraft. I believe that there is a company there that does retrofitting and refurbishing of many of these aircraft that eventually find their way to upstart and small foreign carriers. It has been rumored that back in the 60's and 70's, that there was an outfitter there that was a cover for the CIA and was involved in what could best be described as a skunk works. Just a tad to the south and well off our left wing, lies Marana Northwest Regional formerly known as Avra Valley. A little further south, the Tucson Mountains pass below that same wing. Ryan Airport is just ahead and shortly fades from our view as we trundle towards Nogales. Green Valley is our next landmark with the Twin Buttes open pit copper mines and leaching fields. As we cross State Route 89, Mount Wrightson and Madera Canyon dominate the scenery and signals our impending arrival at Nogales.

We are now about 20 miles northwest of the airport and as we listen-in on the traffic calls, I can determine that there is one other aircraft ahead of me, one in the pattern doing touch and goes, and another aircraft approaching from the west. As I cross midfield, a bright red, low wing aircraft passes in front of me about a 1 or so out but is a bit faster than I am. I gave him a call to let him know that I would follow him in. The terrain north of the airport rises perceptibly and poses an odd illution as you descend on left downwind for 21. By now, most of the other
Breakfast Club aircraft have landed and tied down so we parked in one of the few remaining slots well to the south of the terminal building. There were still a couple of spaces open and I directed the late arriving aircraft to those spaces.

Angies Café is to your right as you enter the terminal building and is separated from the terminal lobby only by a low, wooden divider. The seating is all table and chairs and they were all filled as I walked in. I and a few other Breakfast Club folks commandeered a couple of tables and a number of chairs from the lobby and set them up along the divider. This is kind of an "out of the way" place so the crowd in the restaurant was a bit surprising. You place your order at a walk-up window at one end of the restaurant and the coffee and hardware is located adjacent to this window. I asked one of the folks behind the window about the sudden crowd aside from the Breakfast Club folks. He said that the restaurant at Ryan was closed again and a group that stopped there, decided to make the short to Nogales. I had read somewhere that the restaurant had closed but that it had reopened again-----and now closed again. The menu is not large but is sufficient to satisfy most of the hungry pilot congregation. The portions were ample enough and surprisingly good, not at all bad for an out of the way place. The service was a little slow but that was to be expected due to the influx of two fly-in groups, one unexpected.

An amiable gent by the name of Larry Tiffen manages the airport, operates a flight school there, and co-manages the restaurant with his wife although I did not see her there. Though the service was a bit slow, it did however, allow me some time to visit with a few of the other tables to greet many of the Breakfast Club folks and to welcome some new folks. I stopped at the table with Don Downin and met a few of the other folks that Don had invited to come down here with him. A number of the folks opted to make an early return back to the valley but I wanted to walk the ramp to drool over some of the beautifully restored aircraft that came down with us. Alan Dicker is the proud owner of two beautifully restored, his and hers, Swifts; his red one was here today. Dale Herseth had his polished aluminum Cherokee 140 here and it looked remarkably a lot like Don's. And next to Dale's 140, was Don's gleaming, "Silver Eagle" Cherokee 140. Both of them glistened in the bright sunshine. The mirror like finishes of both aircraft reflected the suns rays to the point that they could cause radiation burns if you stood to close to them. Don wanted to take some pictures of what was left of the group using the 140's as a back-drop and then we walked down the ramp to our aircraft to repeat the process. As Don a I were talking, he stated that he only flew about 4 hours last year. He also articulated that hew spent about 60-70 hours polishing the Silver Eagle. I asked him if he noticed anything wrong with that equation? He said that at times, he has been tempted to paint the Silver Eagle but then he suddenly came to his senses. He further stated that he is very proud of the Silver Eagle but added that he would never do it again.

As many of us were still lingering out on the ramp, some one remarked about how green the hills were in the area. This part of the state had gotten a lot of much needed rain and the geography reflected the results. Though the sun was warm, it was considerably more comfortable here that it was in Kayenta a month ago. All to soon it was time "load em up" and head back north but it was still a very pleasurable day especially when you get to meet some old friends and drool over some gorgeous old airplanes.

The Nogales Group

  • Warren & Jeri-Ann McIlvoy in 4544X, BC-1
  • Trent Heidtke and Tim Yoder in 4638W, BC-112
  • Glen & Judy Yoder in 31TC, BC-007
  • Roger & Joanna Pries in 13806
  • Whitney White in 3484
  • Glen Saffell in 7077V
  • Dan Tollman in 5975V
  • Jim Abraham in 33DS
  • David Lester and Alex Reyes in 358ME, BC-088
  • Jerry & Debbie Spendley in 95625, BC-182
  • Bill Tucker in 6608B
  • Stu Tracy in 34577
  • Don Downin in 6874W, BC-10
  • Stan Raskow in 17762
  • Dale Herseth in 6470W
  • Alan Dicker in 3731K
  • Carl Brandenburg in 7250J


What's Next?

On the 13th of September, the Breakfast Club group will be traveling to beautiful Holebrook, Arizona and the world famous(?) Denny's Restaurant on historic Route 66. Near the end of the month, a small group will be spending 3-days and 2-nights on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We will be staying at the Lodge after flying into Page and renting a vehicle for the two hour drive. In October, we will be going for the first time to Jean, Nevada and the Gold Strike Hotel. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.

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