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SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
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Albuquerque, New Mexico

Story by Marc Zorn, photos by Kristian Mickey

There just aren’t enough restaurants at airports in New Mexico. It’s a problem when you live in a state that is so sparsely populated. It’s not surprising, then, that the few airports near bigger populations are more likely to have them.
Airport restaurants are a fragile resource. Like fuel for your aircraft, they are fuel for the pilots and passengers. If you landed at an airport, and found that the fuel you included in your flight plan was unavailable, you’d be disappointed or inconvenienced. That’s why I make a point out of visiting the restaurants as often as I can. When I find out about a restaurant at an airport in my home state, I feel compelled to fly in for a visit. For the Prop Wash Cafe at Double Eagle Airport (AEG) just west of Albuquerque, it’s an easy case to make.
The Prop Wash Cafe is one of those comfortable little eateries that has a lot of personality and fits in perfectly with its surroundings. It is perched on the second floor, above West Mesa Aviation, in one of the large hangar buildings. There are a couple of conspicuous signs, so it’s easy to find, whether you’re walking in from the ramp or the parking lot. But, even without the signs, you’d naturally look for a restaurant here. It’s almost like an extension of the landscape.

The Kingman airport (IGM) is just south of old Route 66, about five miles northeast of downtown Kingman. The airport is at 3449 feet, and located in a wide valley. There are two major runways in use, 3/21 and 17/35; each are over 6500 feet long with plenty of room for takeoffs on summer days when density altitude climbs to over 5000 feet. As they say on the ATIS on 119.275, “Check density altitude” at this airfield. Airport traffic uses 122.8 and the traffic count is high enough to make it important to call when getting close. The Kingman VOR (IGM) is located on the field and operates on 108.8 MHz. The airport is shown on the Phoenix Sectional and has instrument approaches that are often in use by trainers from the Las Vegas, Prescott, and Phoenix areas.

The airport terminal has a rental car counter if you want to explore the area, and two FBOs are located on the field. Air’Zona Aircraft Service (928-757-7744) and Kingman Aero Services (928-757-1335) each have 100LL and Jet fuel, a self-serve pump is located just to the east of the terminal, but be careful with the security area established near it when taxiing in for fuel. Being an interstate town (I-40), Kingman has numerous hotels and motels if you decide to spend the night, including almost every major chain. All the people who work on the field have been helpful and friendly on my many stops for food and fuel over the past few years.

Just to the east of the old control tower in the main terminal building is the Kingman Airport Café. The café is an airport classic, too. Dozens of airplane pictures adorn the ceiling and walls, and the view looks right at the ramp area if you want to look at the real thing. The post 9/11 changes have blocked the view of the turbo-props that deliver passengers a few times a day, but there is still plenty to see. The café even has a covered outside seating area for when it is nice enough to sit outside and listen to the airplanes, too.

The café is open from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily, serving breakfast until 11 a.m. each day. The menu has all the required classics – New York Steak and Eggs for just over $7, Omelets for less than $6, Hamburgers for about $5, and Patty Melts for around $5.50. A kids menu will fill the little ones up for less than $5 each. Personal favorites, the Patty Melt and the Rueben, have had me wondering about gross-weight and CG issues more than once.

The café also has a nice selection of basic Mexican food, the kind everyone in the rural Southwest expects. But at the Kingman Airport Café it is too good to take for granted, and you will see a lot of locals coming in for breakfast and lunch. I have never gone wrong at a restaurant with this many police cars regularly visiting. Chicken Fajitas and Carne Asada are always good for those of you passing through who want a sample. The owners are not new to the restaurant business, and it shows in the consistently good service and food. They formerly operated a local favorite in town, but migrated out to the Kingman Airport and Industrial Park to take advantage of the growing employee pool as well as the airport business. The café can be reached at 928-757-4420.

While flying in the area, there are plenty of sites to see. One of the longest stretches of old Route 66 that remains in use today starts in Kingman and reaches east almost to Ash Fork. The route traverses the high valleys and ridges of the southwest corner of the Colorado plateau. A flying author recently chronicled the old highway from the air, and this remaining stretch of the old concrete is an excellent place to see a bit of the route yourself. With its history and scenery, it is one of the original IFR (as in “I follow roads”) paths across the U.S.A. and you will be flying a historic route traveled for most of the last century.
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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it
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