Czech jets visit the region |

Czech jets visit the region

What looked like five fighter jets swooping over parts of Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley over the weekend turned out to be a group of L-39 Albatrosses, Czech trainer jets popular among private pilots.

The five planes flew over the region in a tight V-formation, then one by one sheared off in long arcs of white smoke over the Carson Valley. Each circled back and landed at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

“There’s a flying group gathering in Carson City over the weekend,” explained Seattle resident Kari Cameron.

She was one of the ten L-39 pilots who had stopped at the Tail Dragger Cafe for a late breakfast. Some of the others, including ex-military pilots, had come from as far away as Texas.

“I’ve been flying for about 14 years,” said Cameron. “Eight years with the jets.”

According to Wikipedia, an L-39 Albatross costs about $200,000 to $300,000. Their wide popularity led to the establishment of an L-39 jet class at the Reno Air Races.

“This weekend is kind of informal thing,” Cameron said.

She said a pair of North American T-28s were also on their way to the cafe. And sure enough, several minutes later, two large propellor planes landed at the airport.

A popular training plane, T-28s were used by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s, according to Wikipedia.

“They’re big, stinky planes,” one of the pilots said.

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