WIBX Flying High with CJAA Pilots Over Griffiss in Rome
If you've looked up in the sky lately you may have seen what looks like fighter jets zooming by. That is exactly what they are. The Classic Jet Aircraft Association is in town do training flights and exercises all this week.
WIBX had the privilege of being invited for a ride-along and it was quite the experience. The plane that I rode in was 1 of 3,000 Russian built L-39 jets. Larry Labriola was my pilot and before taking off he gave me the, "So, you're tired of living?" speech. Of course, I never doubted his abilities in the least bit.
The party of three jets and the smaller plane taking photos took off from the Griffiss runway just after 7 p.m. Wednesday and were flying side by side and moving simultaneously. The pilots over the Utica/Rome area are members of CJAA which advocates for the continued right to fly classic jets with the least amount of regulation and restrictions commensurate with the safe operation of their aircraft.
This group does races and flights all over the country, but for most this was their first time at the former Air Force base. Rick Vandam with the CJAA says, "We came up here last November and fell in love with the place." He added, "the facilities are phenomenal and we'd love to come back and do more of this in the future."
The group of aviators will be in town through the weekend and if you look to the skies at some point you may just see these historic jets speeding over your neck of the woods. Take some time to look up and appreciate these classic marvels.