For more than a decade, a Palermo couple has been hosting an annual fly-in at their farm, bringing together experimental aircraft pilots from throughout New York and beyond. Our Candace Hopkins has more on this year's event and why, despite its success, it will be the last.
PALERMO, N.Y. -- Every summer for the past 13 years, Gary and Jean Gulliver have transformed their farm into a camp site where experimental aircraft pilots gather for four days of festivities.
"Any time I get a chance to go up, I'll go up. I've been up in anything, most ultralights, fixed wings, tikes, power parachutes. I've got to ride in them all," said fly-in organizer Gary Gulliver.
Gulliver’s love of flying and a trip to another fly-in inspired him to hold his own event. Over the years, the gathering's popularity has soared, bringing pilots in from throughout the country.
"We have new pilots, we have old pilots and we have bold pilots. We're a little bit of everything and we all share our experiences and our talents and our expertise," said Power Parachute Pilot Rich Kiselewsky.
That expertise includes knowledge about the many different kinds of aircraft, like tikes, gliders and power parachutes. Power parachutes can fly up to 10,000 feet in the air and the flights can last up to two hours. The pilots say while they're in the air, the feeling they get is like nothing else in the world.
"It's just the tranquility. I leave work behind, I leave the farm behind, I leave the kids behind and it's just me and the sky and whoever's sharing it," said Kiselewsky.
And while the Gullivers say these events have been some of the best moments of their lives, the time has come to start a new chapter, as Jean finishes up breast cancer treatments.
"It's just time to take a break. Fourteen years is a long time and we don't get to do anything, it takes up our whole summer, so we really haven't had a summer in 14 years so," said Gulliver.
With a clear summer schedule, next year they'll be hitting the road to find all new adventures.
The fly-in runs through Sunday afternoon and the event is open to the public. Admission and parking are free.
Event address: 1222 Red Schoolhouse Road, Palermo, NY.