‘Aviation Day’ at Griff sponsored by MVCC

PROUD PAST ¿ The B-52 bomber "Mohawk Valley" rests in proud display at the East Chestnut Street entrance to Griffiss Business and Technology Park. In 1960, the eight-engine plane was the first Stratofortress to arrive here when "The Griff" was an active Air Force Base. This ship flew missions over Vietnam and also in the first war with Iraq. "Fighters make headlines, but bombers make history" was the mantra of loyal B-52 crews to their rivals in the sky. (Sentinel photo by Lindsay A. Mogle)

Swoop in and land at Aviation Day — Mohawk Valley Community College’s free public event that takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. The program will be held on Apron One off Ellsworth Avenue, near the Family Dollar distribution center on the east side of Griffiss International Airport.

This is the college’s first such event. It is sponsored by the Aviation Technology Club and Aviation Training Center. There will be a donation collected for parking on site. For more information, visit www.mvccaviation.com.

The event will include a variety of aircraft: Scotia Air National Guard C-130 Ski Bird, 105 Airlift C-5 Galaxy, New York State Police helicopter, vintage aircraft, MidAirUSA Boeing 747 (and hangar tours), Mohawk Valley Firebirds and hot air balloons.

There will be a military fly by, military representatives, tours of the school’s Aviation Training facility, the school’s Boeing 727, Premier Aviation hangar tours, Waypoint Flying School and Galaxy Aviation. There will also be a bounce house and other children’s activities. There will also be food vendors, and the Aviation Club will be selling food as a fund raiser.

A pancake breakfast from 7-9 a.m. is on the menu too, with donations accepted. A a classic car cruise-in by the Tappet Twirlers Automobile Club of Rome is also scheduled.

The training center is located in Griffiss at 116 Langley Road. About 40 students are currently enrolled, according to airframe and powerplant certificate program director Walter Constantini. The program offers a 12-month certificate followed by an optional associate’s degree in aviation maintenance technology (which takes two more semesters). The certificate program starts three times a year: January, May and August.

"There is so much aviation going on now at the airport," said Constantini of the reason behind the event. "An Aviation Day is a way for the public to relate to the airport, and to draw interest to the airport." It is also a way to recruit students for the program. "The aviation industry is in great need of mechanics," he noted.