Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Desert Aire Airport Community Appreciation Breakfast flying in June 15

Staff Writer | June 7, 2024 3:00 AM

DESERT AIRE — This year’s Desert Aire Regional Airport Annual Fly-In & Community Appreciation Breakfast is set for June 15. A pancake breakfast will be served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. allowing an opportunity for community members to gather and enjoy a meal. 

Airport Manager and Desert Aire Airport District Commissioner Bob Trantina outlined the basics at the event. 

“There is really just the pancake breakfast going on, and it's for both the community folks from around the area and those who are able to fly in and enjoy it,” Trantina said. “It's just a matter of watching the planes from the folks flying in. Oftentimes, there are some folks, a group of pilots, who just fly around and make stops at all the different events going on, so we're likely to see a couple of them too.”

The meal will be served in a new location at the airport this year, at the hangar mid-field on the south taxiway, according to the airport district website. There is no entry fee, but there is a requested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children.

“It is a fundraiser for the airport, but in recent years we've come to look at it more as just a local event to get people together. The fundraising isn't the primary focus, I guess you'd say. It's mostly about the community event,” Trantina said. “It does raise a few thousand dollars, but … the public relations seems to be a bigger issue for us than the actual money. We don't make a lot of money on it, but people do enjoy it.”

Trantina said the event mostly brings in Desert Aire and Mattawa residents, but a few out-of-towners will often fly in as well.

“Depending on the weather, we've oftentimes gotten folks from the west side, over in Seattle and the Arlington area,” he said. “We had a couple of folks fly in from Idaho last year, not a lot but maybe a couple or two. But word has kind of gotten out that we've got to fly-in and it's just something for them to do; they really enjoy getting out and flying and having breakfast.”

Trantina said attendance at the event has slowly increased after canceling the event in 2020 and 2021.

“We count it by the number of people we serve, and it's usually in the 300 range. I think our largest occurred in 2017 or 2018; we had just about 420-something, I believe,” he said. “It seems like it was back to normal last year. (In) 2023 we had a little over 300, I think.”

The weather could play a part in how many pilots attend the event.

“It's possible that we're going to have some good weather this year. There's a big storm system moving in this week over on the west side,” he said. “But hopefully, the pattern will straighten out and we'll have some nice weather on that Saturday.

Trantina, on his third term as an airport commissioner and his sixth year as airport manager, explained his favorite aspect of the event.

“For me, it's seeing the people from around the community, not just the pilots, coming out and talking to folks about things that are going on in their lives,” he said. “It's interesting to see them all get together, and sometimes with people that they only see at these fly-in events.”

As far as volunteers, Trantina said the event is pretty much set.

“We got a pretty good number already, but if people want to help and do something they can sure give us a call,” he said. “We usually have 40 to 50 volunteers that we count on to get us set up and help staff the event.”

Trantina also said it is unlikely the potential transfer of management of the airport from the airport district to the Desert Aire Owner’s Association would affect future fly-in events. 

“I know the (DAOA) folks that I've talked to about being on the airport committee, they'd like to see the event continue,” he said.

For more information on the event visit bit.ly/Fly-In2024, which also has instructions and information for pilots who will be flying in to the breakfast, including the preferred approach, potential weather conditions, the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency and other safety information.

Desert Aire Regional Airport Annual Fly-In
Desert Aire Regional Airport
119 Airport Way SW, Desert Aire
June 15
7-11 a.m.

    Pilots and local residents fill a hangar at the Desert Aire Airport for the 2022 Desert Aire Fly-In. The meal will be served in a new location at the airport this year, at the hangar mid-field on the south taxiway, according to the Desert Aire Airport District website.
    Participants line up for breakfast at the annual Desert Aire Fly-In 2022. Planes and pilots are scheduled to return for the 2024 Fly-In June 15. There is no entry fee, but there is a requested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children.