Cresco hosts 36th Annual Fly-In Breakfast Sunday
Wed, 08/09/2017 - 1:39pm admin
CRESCO - The 36th Annual Fly-In Breakfast was held under mild temperatures and cloudy skies. That didn’t stop planes or those who opted for alternative transportation methods from making their way to the Ellen Church Field.
The well-attended event brought lots to the table other than omelets and pancakes. The Howard County Fire Department brought in a truck and Howard County ambulance was on hand, as well as flights being offered by the Red Baron Flyers of Caledonia, Minn.
The event brings out thrill seekers, adventurers, inquisitive minds, seasoned pilots, and of course the many volunteers who make it happen.
A local who flew in for the breakfast was Chester resident Glen McKenna and wife, Bonnie.
His 2010 Zenith, holds two, considered a light-sport plane and was built by hand.
“I was flying an ultra-light and it tried to kill me a few times so I told my wife I needed a more reliable aircraft,” chuckled McKenna.
I bought plans and for about eight years I built pieces. I got tired of doing that, so I bought a kit from Little Falls, Minn. I sold the parts that I had made prior to the kit. So, from starting off building pieces and then changing over to the kit, it took me 10 years to build this plane.”
McKenna, a licensed pilot since 1981, flies often.
“I keep my plane at home, and when I get home from work, if it’s nice out, I go flying, usually two to three times a week.”
Indianola, Iowa was the starting point for Alan and Denise Core of Indianola. They flew in on a Cessna 172, and Alan has had his license since 1988.
“I am the copilot,” shared Denise. “We occasionally go into fly-in breakfasts. “There were three in Iowa this weekend. We’ve been to two of them already so we decided to come up to Cresco.”
The flight took the Core family one-and-a-half hours.
“It was a nice ride in and very smooth,” said Denise. “It seems like there are a few clouds moving in now, so it may be a slightly bumpy ride going out.”
Also flying in and offering rides were Allen Schultze, Caledonia, and Ed Chapman, Jordan, Minn. The two were there to offer rides on their Cessna 172 and Cessna 182. Schultze with 1,000 hours under his belt flew the Cessna 172; a 160-horse power aircraft. Chapman has 25,000 hours under his belt and flew the recently purchased (two days prior to be exact) 182 Cessna that has a 230-horse power engine.
Chapman served in the United States Marine Corps from 1968-1979 and flew F4 Phantoms. Following his years in the service, Chapman once again took to the skies in the airline industry. But it doesn’t stop there. Chapman has also flown hot air balloons for 42 years. Impressive, right? But maybe not as impressive as the 20 world records he holds in distance, duration and high altitude as a hot air balloon pilot.
“I have had five flights above 30,000 feet,” he said. “More than anyone across the world.”
Lucky for this writer, Chapman, took me up and taught me the ropes. This started out by buckling in, putting on headphones and mics, as well as a before flight checklist. Once approved for flight, Chapman revved the engine to 7,000 rpms and brought the bird up to an average 5,000 feet.
“We try to run between 4,000 and 6,000 feet,” he explained. “What we aim for depends on the cloud ceiling, visibility and how far you are going to go. The best fuel economy is met at 6,000-9,000 feet. Normally we don’t go over 10,000 feet. The jet aircrafts you see are right around 30,000 feet.”
The Red Baron Flyers offer rides to three fly-in breakfasts per year, one of them being Cresco.
“We estimate between 500-600 attended the breakfast,” said, Jason Passmore, Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.
So, what happens to the money raised by the fly-in breakfast.
“The money goes right back into the community to help community events,” said Chamber Event Coordinator, Kelli Gosch. “We have events throughout the year where there is little or no cost to the public and this money helps fund those events.”
Interested in taking to the friendly skies? Next year, might be your chance as it will mark the 37th year of the fly-in breakfast.