It was pretty easy for diners to notice they were in the company of pilots at last weekend’s “Fly-in” breakfast at the Oliver Municipal Airport.
“It’s all about throttle position,” one aviator could be heard saying.
“What have ya got for a headset?” asked another.
“Things sure have changed up there since I …”
Volunteers from the airport spent three hours feeding dozens of hungry customers at the annual celebration on Aug. 20, when local residents are invited to join the broader flying community for a traditional breakfast with pancakes, bacon and eggs.
“You get everything and you can have seconds,” said local resident Dale Dodge, adding that he attends every year for the great food. “If you want an extra sausage they’ll give you an extra sausage. And they’re all smiling.”
Sean Smith has been travelling from Vancouver for many years to take part in the breakfast, except for last year during severe wildfires. His girlfriend’s parents live in Oliver and they try to coordinate their trips to the Okanagan to visit family and attend the fly-in. Although Smith is a pilot and belongs to a flying club on the coast, he’s still accumulating flying hours and travelled to the Okanagan by car. He flies a Cessna 172 and hopes to be able to arrive at next year’s event by air.
Along with many other patrons that morning, Smith was enthralled by an amphibian aircraft – able to land in water or on ground – and its propeller sits overtop the cockpit.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Smith said.
“It cruises at about 200 naughts, it’s fast,” said pilot Frank Sweet, who flew in from Trail in his 1947 beach craft model 35.
Sweet said his trip from Trail took about 45 minutes and it was smooth sailing. He and his friend Ross Monteith, who flew alongside him, both came to Oliver for the food.
“That’s it, don’t need any more reason than that,” Monteith said.
“And it’s an excuse to go flying,” Sweet said.
The Trail airport doesn’t have an annual fly-in, they said, but it is in good shape.
“Not that we have very many pilots anymore,” Monteith said, adding that the high costs of owning a plane seems to be causing memberships to dwindle.