The Dawn Patrol name originates from war when pilots would "patrol" the skies at “dawn’s” first light for several hours, then return. The ground personnel would have a big breakfast prepared for the returning patrol pilots after they landed. Hence, the name Dawn Patrol is sometimes applied to this kind of fly-in (or drive-in) aviation event.
Here are the 10 reasons to attend this year's Dawn Patrol, which runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
(1) Breakfast will be served from 8-11 a.m. It will include pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee and juice. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 and younger. This is guaranteed to be the best breakfast you'll have at the airport all year.
(2) Free airplane rides for kids. Certified pilots will be giving free Young Eagle airplane rides, weather permitting, to ages 8-17. Arrive and sign up early to have the best opportunity for your child to get an airplane ride. Participants participate in a preflight inspection, a flight around Grand Haven, a free youth pilot logbook and access to a free online flight training course.
(3) The Grand Haven Township Fire-Rescue Department will be on hand with their trucks and equipment for the kids (and adults) to enjoy.
(4) Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes hot dogs, chips, pop and airplanes.
(5) Skydiving Grand Haven (check them out at www.skydivegrandhaven.com or on Facebook at "Skydive Grand Haven") will be conducting skydiving demonstrations during the Dawn Patrol, weather permitting. If you haven't jumped out of an airplane and plummeted toward the ground at 120 mph, this activity is for you. And, if you prefer not to jump, you can watch from the ground for free.
(6) Avoid chores. No Saturday morning lawn mowing or cleaning out the garage.
(7) Entertain the kids. In addition to airplanes, fire trucks and skydiving, there will be lots for the kids to see and enjoy, including a bouncy house.
(8) Airplane watching. You'll be able to see airplanes up-close (please don't touch) and, if you're lucky, an airplane owner will be nearby to explain his or her airplane to you.
(9) A silent auction begins at 8 a.m. with prizes donated by local businesses.
(10) Free Culver's frozen custard from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 'Nuff said.