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EDITORIAL: Another important role for Griffiss aviation

Posted 7/19/22

The importance of the runway at Griffiss International Airport can’t be overestimated. The latest example is the unit currently undergoing real training at Million Air, headquartered at Griffiss …

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EDITORIAL: Another important role for Griffiss aviation

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The importance of the runway at Griffiss International Airport can’t be overestimated.

The latest example is the unit currently undergoing real training at Million Air, headquartered at Griffiss International on Hangar Road.

Michael Saylor is commander of the U.S. Navy’s Training Squadron SEVEN based in Meridian, Mississippi. Thanks to the popular feature film, “Top Gun: Maverick,” now in theaters, most aviation (and movie) fans have heard the designation of Top Gun Navy fighter pilot.

The “Eagles” of Training Squadron SEVEN (VT-7) have the mission of safely and effectively training the world’s finest Naval Aviators and preparing them for service and success in the fleet, according to the squadron’s website. Student Naval Aviators train for approximately 12 months in the fundamentals of strike aviation.

The extensive training these pilots received is too complicated to go into detail here. But it should be noted initial flights and simulators are devoted to Instrument Flight Rules, culminating in an instrument rating. The second phase of flight training exposes students to manual air-to-ground bombing, Tactical Formation, Air Combat Maneuvering, and Operational Navigation at low altitude. Finally, students perform Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) in preparation for their Carrier Qualifications (CQ). In order to become “tailhookers” and earn their Wings of Gold, students must safely complete four touch-and-go’s and 10 arrested landings aboard a carrier at sea.

It’s good to see that Griffiss continues to contribute to military aviation years after the loss of Air Force flying missions.

Saylor, in an interview with the Daily Sentinel, praised Aviation Commissioner Ed Arcuri and Steve Ingerick, general manager for Million Air, who if not for them, training would not have been possible. He also commended the Rome facility.

“I’m hoping we’re here more frequently,” Saylor said.

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