Diamonds in the Sky
The L-39 aerobatic teams
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.
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.
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