Di­a­monds in the Sky

The L-39 aer­o­batic teams

Aviation Classics - - CONTENTS -

The L-39 is a pop­u­lar mount for both mil­i­tary and civil aer­o­batic teams world­wide. There are a num­ber of rea­sons for this but prime among them is the re­li­a­bil­ity of the air­craft, vi­tal to a team with a sched­ule to meet. This, in com­bi­na­tion with the smooth flight char­ac­ter­is­tics of the Aero jet, makes it an ideal plat­form to shine across the sky.

L-39 teams have been formed in coun­tries as far apart as Rus­sia and the US, and we in­clude a se­lec­tion of some of them here as a cel­e­bra­tion of the public face of the L-39.

BALTIC BEES

The Baltic Bees Jet Team was founded in 2008 by the Lat­vian com­pany KS Avia. Ini­tially, the com­pany op­er­ated two L-39s from the air­port at Jür­mala but it was not un­til two more air­craft were added in 2009 that they be­gan per­form­ing team aer­o­bat­ics. The name stems from the fact that though the team is Lat­vian; they con­sider the Baltic re­gion their home, while the Bee part comes from their strik­ing blue and yel­low colour scheme. The team grew to five air­craft in 2010 and now boasts seven L-39s, two of which are leased to the Estonian Air Force as train­ers.

BELAYA RUS

There are cur­rently nine L-39s in ser­vice with the Be­laru­sian Air Force, these air­craft are not only train­ers, but since 2008 also form the equip­ment of the Belaya Rus na­tional aer­o­batic team. The team fly eight air­craft in for­ma­tion us­ing the ninth as a spare, per­form­ing in Be­larus and Rus­sia about 20 times a year. On July 3, 2009, the team took part in the 65th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the lib­er­a­tion of Be­larus be­fore mak­ing their first public dis­play at the open­ing of the Mil­i­tary Avi­a­tion Mu­seum at Borovaja the fol­low­ing day.

BIELE ALBATROSY (WHITE AL­BA­TROSS)

An un­usual na­tional team in as much as it rep­re­sented two coun­tries, hav­ing been

ABOVE: The stork mo­tif on the un­der­side of a Belaya Rus team air­craft. Be­laru­sian MOD

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