Jim Robinson was the driving force behind the CJAA when he made calls to aircraft owners and pilots to gauge interest in establishing a jet organization after the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) published a notice regarding the ongoing ownership and operation of jet warbirds. This resulted in the first organized meeting, held in Denver in 1989 with 60 people in attendance.
The CJAA is now over 200 members strong and works closely with the FAA regarding regulation and works with its members to promote safety, pilot training, currency, maintenance schedules and environmental impact when operating these historic jet aircraft.
Each year an Annual Convention is staged and the CJAA also hold Regional Fly-Ins (Jet Blasts) which help to cement and achieve the stated aims above.
These Jet Blasts are staged coast-to-coast across the USA and are usually organized by a pilot within the Association who lives close to the event. An airfield and an FBO (Fixed Base Operator) are found that can provide relatively quiet surroundings, as all jets like to guzzle the fuel, and the last thing they need is a ten minute wait at the holding point.
Fuel prices are usually negotiated at a special rate to attract owners to attend, although, again due to the cost of operating these machines, the events usually end up as local meets with jets arriving from adjoining states, and the focus is for fellow pilots to share costs and fly in each other's aircraft; gaining experience and understanding of the different operating principles that apply to each unique aircraft type.
The CJAA is also a signatory of the Formation And Safety Team (FAST) which is a national program within the warbird community to standardise and increase the safety of formation flying. Each signatory within the FAST organisation has qualified check pilots who are responsible for evaluating pilots and performing flight checks. This includes such items as radio communication, visual signals, manoeuvres and test guides. Formation flying gets even more complicated when dissimilar aircraft are involved.
There are various levels of minimum requirements based on hours, certificate, ground school etc for flying as a Lead Pilot, Wing Pilot or Check Pilot.
A typical pre-flight briefing can discuss, and is not limited to, designated lead pilot, take-off procedures, join-up procedures, break-out manoeuvres, formation types and manoeuvres, radio and visual communication and recovery procedures. Quite an extensive list!
The CJAA also has Jet Examiners and Instructors within its ranks and, as you can see, the CJAA is self-regulating in order to continue the safe operation of jet warbirds without the need for unnecessary government regulation and to promote this to the general public.
Along with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the CJAA was one of the groups that opposed the Transport Safety Association's attempt to bring into effect the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) that would have affected many of the jets flown with unnecessary security barriers to operation. LASP affected any aircraft over 12,000 lbs maximum take-off weight.
The CJAA also produces a quarterly publication, Classic Jet Journal, which includes safety information and profiles, naturally highlighted as a very good example of owners being proactive in controlling their own rights and freedoms to fly.
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2009-12-29 - Mark
Great article guys this shows what can be done - although their regulator, the FAA, is tasked with promoting aviation as opposed to the UK's regulator.
However Classic jet operators both here in the UK and on the continent need to become more organised.
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