FLUSHING — This weekend, dozens of planes, helicopters and experimental aircraft will converge on Dalton Airport in Flushing for one of the area’s largest aviation events: the 32nd Annual Fly-in Drive-in Pancake Breakfast.
Since the late 1980s, the Fly-in Drive-in event has become a staple attraction every summer in Flushing, drawing thousands of spectators and aviation enthusiasts for a hearty breakfast and a huge exhibition of visiting aircraft.
In keeping with tradition, the breakfast will be held on the final day of the Flushing Summer Festival (June 23) and will run from 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The cost for breakfast is $8 for adults, $4 for kids 5-12 and free for kids under five.
Aircraft scheduled to be on display include vintage and classic planes, World War II era war birds, homebuilt experimental planes and medivac helicopters from three major hospitals in Michigan. A host of emergency vehicles, police cars, fire trucks and military vehicles will also be parked near the airport hangar for display.
New attractions this year include a classic car show and a bounce house for kids. Young spectators can also a meet a Michigan State Police K-9 and hop on the airport’s Kiddy Train Ride.
Jeff Spinney, who’s been a co-coordinator of the Fly-in Drive-in Breakfast since 1996, described the morning of the event as a “flurry of activity,” with air marshals directing plane traffic and spectators crowding in to examine aircraft, emergency vehicles and aviation displays.
“We’ve seen considerable growth over the years,” he said. “People can sit in the bleachers near the grass runway and watch the planes take off and arrive, and there’s lots of things for kids to do. Even when the weather is bad, we have a good turnout.”
Spinney said that between 50 or 60 aircraft will arrive at the event, weather permitting.
Although Dalton Airport has hosted the Fly-in Drive-in breakfast since 1987, a similar event took place during the 1950s and 1960s at the airport when it was privately owned by Ed Dalton. When ownership of the airport changed hands, the event went on hiatus for over a decade until it was taken over by its current sponsor, the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter #77— which is a coalition of local pilots, experimental aircraft builders and aviation enthusiasts.
All proceeds from Sunday’s event will benefit the non-profit EAA Chapter #77 and its activities, such as its Young Eagles program that gives youth ages 8–17 their first free ride in an airplane.
Dalton Airport is located on 3400 Ann Drive off W. Pierson Road.