NEWBERRY — Aviation enthusiasts and pilots from across the spectrum didn’t let the dreary weather keep them away from their passion of flight.
The S.C. Breakfast Club met at the Newberry airport for their meeting. The group gets together every two weeks on a Sunday at different airports around the state.
Usually pilots will fly in but due to the overcast weather Sunday, there were only a few who flew in. Those pilots were described as very experienced.
The group met at the West family’s hangar at the airport for a breakfast to start the day and allow them to catch up. Two pilots came from North Augusta and Rock Hill.
S.C. Breakfast Club president Gerald M. Ballard has been flying for 40 years and said this club is all about the members and their love of flight.
“This is the only one like it in the U.S.,” said Ballard. “There is no profit deal (for having the club). People in South Carolina like to work and have fellowship. North Carolina and Georgia have tried (to start a club) but it didn’t work.”
There are no dues or bylaws in the club, Ballard said. “All you have to do is come and then you’re a member,” he said.
Ballard explained that with the high cost of airplane fuel — abut $6 per gallon — the members put their passion above expenses.
He joked that they can eat cheap until their next meeting to afford to fly to the next stop. The club’s next stop is in Manning.
As far as Newberry goes, Ballard said that the Newberry airport holds the record for having the most planes flown into the airport in an hour.
“Todd (Clamp) holds the record of 161 planes in an hour,” said Ballard.
Previously, Ballard held the record with 141 planes in an hour at the Twin Lakes airport.
The aviation enthusiasts consisted of pilots who fly larger commercial planes and smaller, general aviation planes. There are also non-pilots who enjoy being around airplanes.
Ronnie Gantt from Chapin is a commercial pilot of 737s and has been a part of the club since 1980.
When asked about the difference between the two types of planes, Gantt said the best way to describe it is “the smaller airplanes are up close and personal.”
While the enthusiasts enjoy talking and flying their hobby, their number one concern is always safety which is included in their motto.
For more information about the club visit them on their Facebook page under the name South Carolina Breakfast Club or visit the website www.flyscbc.com.