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Bits and Pieces

Saturday Morning Day Care!

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Breakfast at the airport
Saturday morning - bring on the breakfast special!

If you’re like me, you really enjoy the airport restaurant on a Saturday morning, a nice greasy breakfast, lashings of coffee, and good company. Our ritual is to push all the square tables together in a long row that keeps getting longer as people show up. There’s always something to talk about, a favourite destination, a chat about the politics at the airport, some exchange of information about a technical issue.

It occurred to my wife Eugénie,  the other day that it’s a bit like day care. Some are getting a little bit frail, one is getting mobile again after a hip replacement, and some get dropped off by their wives. There’s always a good sprinkling of enthusiasts who aren’t actually flying themselves, but they’re always up for a ride.

We have wartime navigators, people with adventures to tell, and some who never say a word but love to sit and listen to the banter. There are women pilots, too, and some of the guys bring their wives so don’t hesitate to bring your wife or girlfriend (but maybe not both).

What brings us all together is the love of aviation and just hanging around the airport, rain or shine. There’s always someone with a handheld, listening to the local traffic, alerting us all when someone is on final. We learn so much from each other, and there’s nothing like asking someone about his or her experience over breakfast to sow the seeds of that next adventure. We occasionally have one of the starving school instructors there who is always ready with free advice, and a willingness to sign you up for a couple of hours of instruction.

What I like most about this routine is that I think it actually makes me a better pilot. Watching different pilots go off for a flight and seeing how they take the circuit convinced me that I should turn base later to have more “settling time” on final. Listening to how long it takes the mechanic to do an annual in a 152 caused me to realize that I could probably shorten the time it takes to do mine by being a bit more organized.

There are sad moments, too. We lost a good friend to cancer, and another is slowly losing his thought processes. Our demographic is much like other airports, I imagine. The reason most of us didn’t fly when we were young was shortage of time and money. As we’re all getting older we relish the good times together.

Yes, the Saturday morning day care is one of my favourite pastimes. A good breakfast, lots to learn, and good humoured chit-chat about flying are worth the trip, even if the weather looks a bit grim. If you aren’t in this habit, don’t be shy to take your partner out for a spin. There’s always someone who would rather talk about something else than flying, but I’ve no idea why!

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