Heavy Metal Jet Aerobatic Team

The real airshow season in America starts at TICO (which comes from Titusville Cocca Airport Authority) every spring in Florida.  This event is the annual fund raiser for the Valiant Air Command.  This year something new happened which has never happened anywhere before and we were there to see it.

There is a new jet team on the airshow circuit known as “Heavy Metal”.  It was started by Jarred Isaacman and is sponsored by United Bank Card.  They have four L-39s and a Candair T-33 all painted in winter arctic camouflage, white and black.  For this particular show the T-33 was not available, and they substituted in a black L-39 as the solo act.

Along with Jarred, the other pilots are well qualified, some are former military and a couple are even former USAF Thunderbirds.  Of course they also have a man who needs no introduction, Cmdr Dale “Snort” Snodgrass.  If you wanted to introduce him, he’d be the highest time F-14 pilot the Navy had, a Top Gun Honors graduate, the lowest flying airshow pilot of all time and the man I personally credit with inventing the concept of the “Heritage Flight” which is seen at airshows all over the country.

The team flies an exceptional show of a four ship diamond formation and includes several maneuvers that I’ve never seen before.  The solo is Snort doing everything to the limit as he always does.  The final pass is a diamond flyby with the Solo doing rolls around the formation.

Their first official performance was on March 11th at TICO and was exceptional.  It really matched the quality of the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels which seemed to be the goal they were trying to achieve.  In the past civilian jet teams seemed to fail, not because of skills or equipment, but simply sponsorship.  It takes a lot of money to wow the crowd with military jets.  With United Bank Card behind them, it looks like we’ll be seeing “Heavy Metal” in the skies for a long time.

The Heavy Metal Jet Team can be found at www.heavymetalaerobatics.com.

By Mark Hrutkay

Photos of the Heavy Metal T-33 were taken at EAA Oshkosh 2010.  You can reach me at TNMark@Me.Com.

Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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