Patriots Jet Team
The Patriots Jet Team is a civilian aerobatic formation team that performs in air shows across western United States of America. The team currently operates as a six-ship team, flying the Czech-built Aero L-39 Albatros. The Patriots are based in Byron, California.
The team began flying demonstrations in 2003 with just two L-39 aircraft. In the 2004 airshow season a third L-39 was added. With the success of the 2005 season, the Patriots added a fourth jet for the 2006 season. and in 2010 the Patriots Jet Team expanded to a six-ship aerobatic formation team.
The team is owned by former United Airlines pilot Randy Howell It is sponsored by companies including Fry's Electronics and Hot Line Construction, Inc. and supported by a ground crew of more than 25 volunteers.
The 2011 Patriots Jet Team pilots are:
- Flying Jet #1 The Lead Pilot: Dean "Wilbur" Wright, former USAF Thunderbirds Pilot
- Flying Jet #2 The Right Wingman: Rob "Stache" Hutchinson, accomplished aerobatic pilot
- Flying Jet #3 The Left Wingman: John "Bordz" Posson, accomplished aerobatic pilot
- Flying Jet #4 The Slot Pilot: Paul "Sticky" Strickland, former USAF Thunderbird Pilot
- Flying Jet #5 : Rob "Scratch" Mitchel, former RCAF Snowbirds Pilot
- Flying Jet #6 : Scott "Banker" Ind, former USN Blue Angels Pilot
The first of the Patriots aircraft were purchased in 1999 with additional L-39 Jets purchased through 2002. The aircraft were disassembled and shipped via truck, rail, and sea in a 40-foot container from Europe to the United States. After painstaking restoration by the Airshows America team, the Patriots jets were modified for use on the air show circuit with upgraded avionics systems for navigation and communications, removal of excess weight for better air show performance, addition of a 25-gallon smoke oil tank highlighting a computerized red-white-and-blue smoke system, and removal of their previous paint scheme.
The Patriots Jet Team performances feature fast-paced formation flying and choreographed six-ship aerobatic maneuvers, featuring their signature "Tail Slide" maneuver, where the jet aircraft actually slides backwards towards the ground; something performed by only two other jet precision teams, Italy's Frecce Tricolori and the Heavy Metal Jet Team.
- "The Patriots Jet Team". 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Miguel, Ken (March 29, 2010). "Privately-owned fighter jets take to East Bay skies". KGO-TV. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
- Bartholomew, Ben (August 2, 2011). "Soaring With The Patriots". The Wheatland Citizen. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
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