The Lima Lima Flight Team started with one flying club. The Mentor Flyers, Inc. was organized as a non-profit corporation in 1975. It was chartered as a 15 member flying club, based at Naper Aero Club field, Outside of Naperville, Illinois. Naper Aero is a residential airpark, with over 100 homes connected to runways via taxiways behind the homes. In fact, the “Lima Lima” name was derived from the FAA designator for Naper Aero Club field, which is LL-10, hence the LL on the tails of our aircraft.
The Lima Lima Flight Team demonstration is flown with six airplanes, It includes several formation configurations, from the six ship wedge and double arrowhead, to the basic finger four and diamond formations. The team has developed a series of formation aerobatics maneuvers which demonstrate the full range of the T-34 performance envelope.
The flagship T-34 of their fleet is an early A model (serial number G-17, N34B). It was veteran of USAF and CAP use before being acquired by the Mentor Flyers. When the Mentor Flyers decided to buy a different T-34, N34B was sold to club members Ted Adams and Gene Martin. They soon decided that going from 15 partners to 2 partners was only a step along the way to individual ownership, and they bought another CAP veteran T-34 This surge of interest in T-34 flying coincided with a very active formation training and qualification program which was instituted by the national T-34 Association. The T-34 Association formation flying program encouraged local participation, which led to still more Mentors being acquired by club members, and still more club members being recruited. (Two of the additional Mentors formed the core of two more clubs.) Since formation flying is a uniquely military activity, the Lima Lima Mentors are painted in original Navy training colors. (The only exception to this is the black tail band, which has become the Lima Lima trademark.)
The military recognized different levels of formation skills, from basic tactical formation flying to Blue Angels and Thunderbirds demonstration team airshow flying. The Lima Lima Flight has evolved in the same way. The number of T-34’s available presented the opportunity for them to practice on a weekly basis, and to develop more sophisticated formation skills. This led to a growing core of demonstration pilots.
Above all, the Lima Lima Flight Team stresses precision formation flying, and keeping the team in front of an airshow crowd during all of it’s maneuvers, from take-off to landing. Lima Lima has performed in airshows from coast to coast and border to border, thrilling more than 100 million spectators with the beauty and grace of their precision performances.
-Offutt AFB Open House Team (OffuttAirShow.com)