At least 23 high-dollar private jets were parked on Shively Field for this year’s annual Gathering of the Jets that bring in the Conquistadores to the Saratoga Airport. They were here from last Wednesday through Sunday, with many others doing just touch-and-go landings to drop off and pick up passengers.

These Jets range in price from as high as $70 million down into the single millions and come from all over North America for the annual event. This year there were so many planes parked in the airfield’s small taxiway area that the smaller ones overflowed into the field’s two hangar alleyways.

This annual gathering is held each year the week following Labor Day and is the single busiest weekend at the airport. It is for the very private annual fall meeting of Conquistadores del Cielo (Conquers of the Sky), a social gathering of aviation industry executives and owners, who meet at the historic A-Bar-A Ranch south of Riverside along the North Platte River.

Since the A-Bar-A Ranch is located some 30 miles south of Saratoga, numerous loads of rental cars and SUVs are brought in each year to be used by the plane’s passengers and pilots.

With all the pilots and crews in town for as much as four days and needing motel rooms, meals and recreational diversions and their aircraft needing fuel and services, the Gathering of the Jets is one of the major events on Saratoga’s economic calendar.

This year was a return to normal for the event. Last year, A-Bar-A shut down for the first time in 99 years because of COVID-19 concerns.

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