Aircraft won’t be the one things flying around the hangers of the WMU College of Aviation this Saturday morning, as pancakes will be zinging from skillet to plate at the 4th annual pancake breakfast fly-in.
The fundraising event will take place from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the aviation maintenance building, located at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. Admission costs $6, with all collected funds going toward a number of different aviation student organizations, including the school’s award wining competitive flight team, the Sky Broncos.
Students, faculty and members of the community are all invited to come to the hangers, where they can tour the facility, check out the school’s various training aircraft, and to chow down on as many pancakes their stomachs can handle. In addition, the event has attracted the attention of local pilots, who fly into the airport to fill up their planes and their bellies.
“It’s a very eclectic, but a very diverse mixture of people we typically get coming out to this event,” said Tom Thinnes, the recruitment and outreach manager for the aviation school. “It’s a very, very unique event in that it’s not focused on a particular niche of people.”
The pancakes themselves will again be provided by Chris Cakes, an Iowa based catering company that specializes in cooking up to 100 of flapjacks in minutes. One of the attractions of the event is how the chefs will flip, or “fly,” the finished cakes at guest’s plates, from either right next to the skillet to plates as far as 30 feet away.
“We’ve seen them go all the way across the hanger before,” Thinness said. “It’s kind of hilarious seeing pancakes fly across the room.”
While Thinnes estimates that around 40 percent of the tossed cakes end up meeting the floor rather than the plate of a hungry guest, attendees shouldn’t be concerned about wasting food. Uneaten pancakes will be fed local livestock, Thinnes said.
In addition, non-pilots may be able to get a chance to see the various types of planes that local pilots fly in on. At past events, attendees have flown in on planes ranging from custom built biplanes to World War II era fighters such as the Corsair.
“Guests will be able to get up close and personal with all kinds of different planes,” Thinnes said. “That alone is the worth the price of admission.”
The College of Aviation held the first fly-in breakfast back in 2010, in celebration of both their 70th year teaching aviation and their 10th year as standalone college at the university. The event has been slowly growing in attendance since then, with around 200 people coming out last year, Thinnes said.
“We are fairly confident, based on trends, that we will get 300 people in here this year,” he said. “Anymore than that would be icing on the cake.”
Thinnes said that every attendee will be able to get something out the event, whether that something is a plateful of buttery, fluffy and syrupy pancakes or an inside look at one the university’s oldest and most prestigious programs.
“Even if you’re not into aviation, you should come out to see one of the shining stars of the university,” Thinnes said.