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Destination: Lunch at the Fly Inn

by Patrick Borton

feature_dest_1Since earning my private, one of my most favorite destinations has been lunch! You can fly in nearly any direction and you’ll eventually find it. On one of the many unseasonably warm days we had this winter, I found myself, along with Sweet Aviation student, Michael Alberico heading to Plainwell, MI for lunch at The Fly Inn Restaurant. We were also joined by my father, Don Borton and CFI, Myron Yoder, as we interrupted their lesson that day by tempting them with food.

Plainwell Municipal Airport (61D) is a far cry from what you are used to seeing when you fly into Smith Field. Like Smith Field, there are two runways, but in Plainwell, only one of them is paved. Measuring 2,650′ x 50′, runway 9/27 is adequate for most general aviation aircraft and it is likely the runway of choice. Runway 1/19 is turf and appears to be in good condition. It’s only 100 feet shorter than the paved runway and it’s three times as wide (2,550′ x 150′).

Taxiing to the parking area, you’ll notice a variety of planes tied down in the grass. I’m assuming that’s due to the hangars being at capacity. Some of the hangars didn’t have doors and it looked like there was a plane in every stall that you could see into. Immediately to the south of the ramp is a fuel pump and on the east end is the FBO. I didn’t need services, so I focused on the reason I was there. Lunch. Walking down a dirt path toward the approach end of runway 27 sits a small, red building.

feature_dest_2The Fly Inn Restaurant has a fine selection of food on the menu and I witnessed one of the most pleasing things a patron could see when walking into any restaurant. The cook was making hamburger patties by hand. No frozen beef pucks served here! You get a good old fashioned burger, a dandy view of the runway, and some excellent use of your pilot license — and you can do it all in about three hours. I shouldn’t forget to mention that the prices were incredibly reasonable and the service was excellent as well.

A wise man once told me that “the journey is the destination”. The journey on February 28 was to find a delicious lunch at an airport. That mission was accomplished. The Fly Inn is definitely worth checking out.