OLEAN, N.Y.– On a crisp 60-degree Sunday morning, Chris Napoleon made pancakes.
Napoleon, the president of the Olean Airport Support Group, stood in the hangar in front of an industrial-size griddle, serving up hot flapjacks to hungry customers. To his right stood other volunteer workers, serving other breakfast items.
All the while, the engines of two-passenger airplanes and a helicopter roared outside.
People came from all over Cattaraugus County and the surrounding areas to the Olean Airport’s Ninth Annual Fly-In Pancake Breakfast, held from 8 a.m. to noon. The public enjoyed the breakfast, which included eggs, pancakes, sausage and coffee, milk, tea or orange juice, and the chance to fly. For the meal, adults were charged $8, and children under 12 were charged $5. Rides were offered for $40.
Located on County Road 81 in the Town of Ischua, the Cattaraugus County-Olean Municipal Airport serves Mercy Flight, state police and other organizations, as well as the public, Napoleon said.
“This is the only runway in Cattaraugus County,” Napoleon added.
“People are still infatuated with aviation," Napoleon said. "This airport enables people to partake in that love.”
Two pilots attended the breakfast to support the airport. Don Haingray of Houghton flew a 1957 Cessna 172 for the occasion. Julie Haingray, his wife, accompanied him on the flight, and said, “The food is good. And there’s real syrup too, which is a plus.”
Meanwhile, Mark Hodnett of Fillmore, who flew a 1946 Piper Cub, said he would be coming back next year.
“If I can’t fly, I’ll drive here, just to support the airport,” Hodnett said.
People put airports in the back of their minds, but this local airport is a needed part of Cattaraugus County’s infrastructure, Napoleon pointed out.
“This airport is an investment for the county," Napoleon said. "And we want to thank them for their continued investment.”
Another fly-in pancake breakfast is planned for next year.
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