Fly-in for pancakes in Charles City Sunday

A plane takes off at the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport Fly-In last year. (Press file photo.)
A plane takes off at the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport Fly-In last year. (Press file photo.)
By James Grob,

Pilots from all over the Midwest will be stopping by Charles City Sunday morning, for some pancakes.

The public is also invited to attend the annual Charles City Lions Club All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast during the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport Fly-In on Sunday, July 15, at the airport on Highway 18 east of Charles City.

Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Plane rides will also be available for a fee for people of all ages, weather permitting.

Bruce Cannon has been helping to organize the pancake breakfast for the Lions Club for the past few years, acquiring the ingredients and supplies — as well as the manpower.

“It takes a big group effort. You can’t do this with just one person,” he said.

The Lions Club and the airport have been teaming up on the event for 20-25 years, Cannon said. He said he can expect more than 700 people to turn out each year, possibly as many as 1,000.

The fly-in is one of the Charles City Lions Club’s main fundraisers, and the money raised goes back to the Lions Club for continued Charles City community philanthropy.

Depending on the weather, as many as 60 airplanes could fly in Sunday, and Cannon said that patrons always enjoy taking the airplane rides that will be available — again, depending on the weather.

”People love the plane rides, when the weather is decent,” said Dawn Gourley at Charles City Aeronautics at the Northeast Iowa Regional Airport in Charles City.

“We have to have visibility,” she said. “We can’t go up in thunderstorms.”

In the past, the event has also offered helicopter rides, although only plane rides are available this year.

Members of the Lions Club have been selling tickets to the public for the last few weeks, and the Lions Club encourages people to “bring the whole family, check out the cool aircraft and have breakfast in the most ‘unusual’ restaurant you’ll ever see.”

Cannon said there will also be tickets available for purchase on site at the time of the event.

A large variety of planes is expected. Last year, on Charles City Aeronautics’s 60th anniversary, the lineup included Stearman biplanes that were used for training during World War II by both the Army and the Navy. A rare De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver plane also flew the sky last year. The Beaver planes can have floats put on to land in water.

Experimental planes and others also landed and took off throughout the event, as well as general aviation craft flown by professionals and hobbyists. Visitors to the breakfast can expect to see more of the same this year.

Charles City Aeronautics was formed in 1957 to provide airport management services and aeronautical services to the North Iowa region. Founded by Norbert Baltes and Lyle Kyle, Charles City Aeronautics has served the North Iowa region continuously for 60 years. CCA offers charter services, flight instruction, fueling, maintenance and more.

CCA is the parent company of North Iowa Air Service and Central Iowa Air Service, and is owned and operated by William R. Kyle, president, and Todd E. Kyle, vice president and director of operations.