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Flight Crew Calendar Special to Air Saturday

A year of careful planning and a week in glorious Aruba led to a magnificent 12 months' worth of photos in the third annual New York Jets Flight Crew Calendar.

And in 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon, you can relive the process that led us to this point in time.

"The thing I'm passionate about is that really this is a year-long process," said Denise Garvey, the Flight Crew director and the host of the "2011 Jets Flight Crew Swimsuit Calendar Special" that will air on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on WCBS-2HD in New York.

"The cheerleaders in this special make it look easy, but what I think you'll see is a whole team of people who helped make the calendar possible — top-of-the-line hair stylists, makeup artists, photographer and photographic assistants, production assistants and set managers for our 'set,' which was the island of Aruba."

Add to that mix Rich Gentile, the Jets' senior director of broadcasting and multimedia production, and his talented department, who joined Garvey and photographer Daisy Johnson in preceding the Flight Crew to the Caribbean paradise in May for eight days of filming everything that went into making of the calendar: from scouting out locations to the arrival of the Crew members and their "entourage," their interviews and individual shoots, and their departure back to New Jersey a week later to prepare for their primary role of performing for the fans and cheering on the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

"We documented every single step of the project and found some really interesting nuggets from that week to make this 30-minute special," Gentile said. "The amount of footage we shot ended up being over 1,500 clips a day, and we wound up using about 4 percent of what we shot for the show.

"It's always a pleasure to work with creative minds. It makes creating a magazine-style program about the whole experience so much better when you're working with people who have really high standards for everything they do."

Gentile, who has produced three calendar specials for local TV with the Jets and 14 in his NFL career, said the Aruba weather made this year's week the best he's experienced. The weather is so important to Johnson and her staff as they shoot the Flight Crew and for Gentile and his people as they film the entire process. Clouds, rain and wind can put days of the shoot in jeopardy. Unruly sand and lighting can land video footage on the cutting room floor.

And the process is no walk on the beach for the cheerleaders, a.k.a. the calendar models.

"A little competition is good," Garvey said. "There are 41 women on the team this year. Most came to the fitting, and then from the fitting we selected 19 we wanted bring to Aruba for the opportunity to shoot for the calendar. All 19 girls had the chance to get their hair and makeup done, get a shoot location chosen for them, and get in front of the camera.

"The days were long, sometimes 16 hours. We'd have to wake up to catch the sunrise, then go all the way until sunset. The only time we couldn't shoot was from noon to 2 when the sun was directly overhead. That was the time for the crew and the models to take a break."

It's a tough job but someone had to do it. In the end, 13 young women were chosen to appear in the calendar —Jessika graces the cover while Jessica S., Kayla, Ryann, Roselinda, Katie, Nikki, Emi, Kimberly, Donna Marie, Samantha, Anais and Gina accompanied the individual months — and all 19 make appearances in Saturday's special.

This special will be different things to different people. It's a swimsuit style guide for the coming year. It's a tour of Aruba — "We do it almost like a travel documentary," said Gentile, "showcasing where the Flight Crew members go on the island as well as how they look when they get there." It's a little warm breeze from the beach on a cool November afternoon in the Northeast.

Needless to say, it's a marketing tool to get Jets followers and fans of the Flight Crew to buy the calendar, for themselves or as holiday gifts. You can go to to purchase the calendar and you'll also find a "behind the scenes" photo gallery of the Aruba shoot there.

And the special is an up-close-and-personal look at the Flight Crew.

"I feel this is the most beautiful crew we've had to date," said Garvey, in her fifth year as the group's director. "In addition to them being dancers, talented entertainers and good spokespeople, they're very easy on the eye."

But more than that, she said, "Making of the Swimsuit Calendar" is an "exciting testament" to the stature of the New York Jets Flight Crew.

"I think it proves our popularity is growing," Garvey said. "People want to know more about these women and what it is they do when they're not on the field on Sundays. This show definitely gives people insight into who they are, what they do, and the personality that really makes up the Flight Crew."

Find out for yourself on Channel 2 at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

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