Monday, May 18, 2009

EAA Fly-in Breakfast

We made it over to the EAA Chapter 431 pancake breakfast at the Brodhead airfield on Sunday. If you didn't, go ahead and get out your calendar to mark it right now for next year's event.

The breakfast of pancakes, sausages, eggs and juice was $6 per person, and the food was good. Some pancake breakfasts aren't so great anymore, but this is one of the good ones. The people manning the griddles even made up some Mickey Mouse pancakes for the kids, much to their delight.

There were small planes landing and taking off all morning. It was interesting to see all of the different styles and how differently they handled. Some of them popped right up during take off, others took their times, going almost to the tree line before we saw the tires lift off the ground.

The pilots fly in from around the state for the breakfast, and most are quite happy to take a minute to talk about their planes and where they are from We saw this unique turquoise one with the bubble cockpit and talked with the pilot from Kenosha about it for a little while, learning about the weight and speed.

The day is interesting in that it is also a quiet lesson on courtesy, respect and personal responsibility as well. There are no control towers at the small community airfields that dot Wisconsin's countryside. The pilots communicate with one another to coordinate take off and landing orders. Once on the ground, the pilots taxi to the spot of their choice. The people on the ground are free to walk around, but they are on the lookout for taxing aircraft. Spectators are also welcome to walk up to the aircraft and look at them, but everyone is aware of importance of being hands off and respectful of the machines even without supervisors and ropes separating the public from the planes. Pose the family right by your favorite planes for a photo, just be careful not to touch.

Be sure to take the time to walk down to the hangers at the south end of the airfield. Some are open for the public to view the planes and aircraft memorabilia. Talk with the owners because some of the planes and parts are absolutely fascinating. The Brodhead airfield is well-known among antique aircraft enthusiasts for the unique and amazing planes from the including the only flight worthy Butler Blackhawk in existence. Every year, the Brodhead chapter of the EAA in conjunction with the Brodhead Pietenpol Association hosts a gathering of vintage aircraft as well as other regular events.

The Brodhead airfield, EAA Chapter 431 and Brodhead Pietenpol Association are among our hidden treasures here in Green County. If you have not taken the time to attend one of their public events lately, come out to the next one and enjoy a piece of world history right in our backyard.

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