The Breakfast Club
The Knife & Fork

The Breakfast Club Revisits Sedona

By Warren McIlvoy
12 January 2002

The Breakfast Club's January 2002 event, kicked-off our 9th year of our Saturday fly-in events. For this opening event, the Breakfast Club chose to revisit one of the more picturesque of all of our fly-ins, Sedona . The weather promised to be beautiful and the scenery that surrounds this location, has sold countless postcards.

The cool morning air was a bit brisk but there was no wind to give it any bite. I departed Scottsdale's runway three with a heading of just a bit west of due north. The brilliant morning sun gave the valley a warm glow as we neared Carefree. I called-in on our air-to-air frequency to register our presence and we quickly heard from other Breakfast Club people that were already up and on their way. I heard some folks that were quite a bit south of the valley but I did not believe that they were part of our group. I later learned that we would be joined by about three aircraft from the Tucson area, that were experiencing their first event with the Breakfast Club . About 15 miles south of Pine Mountain , we encountered just a little bit of turbulence that, although not anything greater than light, was a little unusual for this time of the morning. From our position, we could clearly see Humphrey's Peak that is situated about 35-40 miles north of Sedona .

Since the early 80's, I would venture to guess that I have flown into Sedona, at least 50 times. But no matter how often that I would fly into Sedona, the scenery never gets boring. The brilliant red hues of the rock formations that dominate this area, are breath taking. I have seen these sites when the sun was low in the west and it would give the Sedona area a fiery appearance that was just unbelievable. As I am not the only person who has visited this location on numerous occasions, I was not sure of how many people that we would have for this event. I called the restaurant on Wednesday to give them a "heads-up" about our group arriving there on Saturday and I told them that they may expect about 25 people from our gather. As it turned out, that was a somewhat conservative estimate.

As is the usual case for Sedona, you land uphill on runway three and take-off downhill on 21, today was no exception. I was one of the early arrivals and had no trouble finding a tie-down spot near the end of the middle row at the restaurant end. But aircraft kept on arriving and in short order, parking (that was convenient), was becoming a scarce commodity. By about 0915, the crowd on the ramp was getting rather large and they began their short hike over to the restaurant. I met up with one of the Tucson people and he said that there were two more aircraft in his group that had not yet arrived. Since these were new participants in our group, I chose to stay with him and help to direct the parking. By 0925, the last of the aircraft had arrived and tied-down along the fence at the western edge of the ramp area.

As we entered the restaurant, they had seated out entire contingent, in the middle section of the dinning area and we did take-up the entire area. Like I had stated before, I have been coming up to Sedona for almost 20 years and though the restaurant has changed hands on several occasions, the food had always remained fairly good and not unreasonably priced, even for the Sedona area. During the time up to the late 80's, there was no taxiway at this airport and the popularity of this place on the weekends, made for a rather interesting orchestration for arrivals and departures. If you were part of a small to moderate sized group for departure, you would all taxi-out enmass, do your run-up at the arrival end of 21, and then depart as the arriving traffic would clear the runway. For those not familiar with the Sedona Airport, the runway is situated on a mesa that rises about 400' above the surrounding valley floor. The airport has had the nickname of "USS Sedona" attached to it. In the summer months, when landing on runway 3, you can ALWAYS count on having a downdraft at the arrival end of the runway. Arriving at the threshold of the runway and being a 100' high, was always preferred as opposed to being only 25' up where the downdraft would arouse your "pucker factor" and truly get you attention.

A final tally of 33 people and 17 aircraft helped to make this a truly great Breakfast Club event. And to make this an even more special event for my wife and I was that, this day marked our 39th wedding anniversary. What a great way to celebrate this festive occasion than being with so many people who love flying and eating (which ever order works for you), and being in one of the most spectacular scenic locations to be had anywhere. We are indisputably blessed.

Since the weather was so outstanding, I did not want to make the return trip back to the valley, any shorter than it had to be. I, instead, chose to head back via the Mogollon Rim and Payson. Paul Fortune (BC-61) and Richard Spiegel(BC-3) had agreed with that rational and decided to take the round-about way of getting back to the valley. Somewhere at the far eastern edge of the Verde Valley and where the geography assumes a mountainous appearance, we joined-up at about 7500' with Paul in his Cherokee Arrow, and Richard in his Seneca: Paul off my left wing and Richard off my right wing. Paul made the apropos comment that it "looked like theCartwright brothers riding into the Ponderosa Ranch". So off we went flying over the Mogollon Rim and over Strawberry . A little south of Strawberry, Paul and Richard broke-off and went in search of the historic Tonto Bridge. I continued on to Payson for a brief bit of sight seeing in this area. After passing over Payson, I headed south through the Tonto Basin and the "pass" at Mount Ord. All in all, just another great day of aviating.

The Sedona Bunch

I would like to thank all those who chose to make this event a very special time for us along with the first time folks from the Tucson area. We even had some visitors from Alaska. Talk about a cross country trip.

What's Next?

The Breakfast club event for February will be taking us for an encore visit to Palm Springs, California and the Cactus Jacks Restaurant. We will also be taking a tour of the aircraft museum that is just north of the restaurant. In March, the Breakfast Club will be traveling to Chiriaco Summit and the General Paton Museum. That's all for now but remember, fly safe.
Sedona Picture