The Lima Lima Flight Team


What a difference 18 Years Make!

When the team was coming back from our first airshow in Mexico in Acapulco, we happened to pass a “dormant” volcano called Popocatepeti. I (Ripper) dropped out of our six ship wedge formation to take this picture. It seemed rather benign at the time but look at it last week. I’m glad we were able to see it when we did.

Ed Hicks Has Gone West

Here is the post from his son Robert:

Hello everyone. My dad passed today (1-24-23). He took care of us all the way on his final approach. We wanted to share

“High Flight” with those who knew him.

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

During his career with Delta Air Lines he safely delivered millions of passengers to their final destinations. Today he safely arrived at his.


Edward I Hicks

Feb 11, 1942 – Jan 24, 2023

Edward Irvin Hicks, 80, resident of Ninety Six, husband of Leslie Bashnan Hicks, passed away Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at Self Regional Healthcare.
Born February 11, 1942, in Seguin, TX, he was a son of the late Charles George and Norma L. Clark Hicks. He was a graduate of University of South Carolina and was an United States Air Force veteran, attending pilot training at Moody Air Force Base, he then spent 6 years as an instructor pilot at Laredo AFB and a fighter pilot at Grissom AFB. Ed was a founding member of The Lima Lima Flight Team, and during his tenure with Lima Lima, he flew the slot position. Edward Hicks retired from Delta Air Lines after 32 years of service.
He was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Warbirds of America, and The Single Action Shooting Society.
Surviving in addition to his wife Leslie, are a daughter, Kristine Hicks Laca of Montevideo, Uruguay; a son, Robert Edward Hicks (Angela) of Leonardtown, MD; two grandchildren, Alexandra Laca Hicks and Jackson Robert Hicks; and a sister, Nancy H. Coursey.
He was predeceased by a brother, Dale Allen Hicks.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Michelin Tire

Michelin Tire has been a Lima Lima sponsor for over thirty years. We recently had the opportunity to meet with their sales and technical representatives at Oshkosh 2022 as well as the “Michelin Man” himself!

Lima Lima Book Now Available in Hardcover

Amazon now offers a hardcover version.

Rudy Malnati has Flown West

Christmas Eve was a sad day for Chicago and the Airshow Industry. Our good friend Rudy Malnati passed away after a long battle with cancer. The Chicago Sun Times did a fitting obituary.

RIP Rudy Malnati

Lou Drendel wrote the following tribute to Rudy for our book “Lima Lima”. It is an accurate description of the importance of Rudy’s friendship for the team. Though they hint at the personal feelings many of us felt for Rudy, they don’t begin to express how important he was to so many others in and out of the air show world. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten.

            Rudy Malnati deserves special mention because over the course of several years he became a team sponsor and personal friend to many team members. Rudy took over the Chicago Air & Water Show when Al Benedict retired. Rudy had trained under Al at the Chicago Park District, so he was intimately familiar with how the show should run, and how it had run. The show is now run by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, where Rudy also works on other special Chicago events. He is also the founder of the Pizanos chain of Chicago restaurants. When he took over for Al, Rudy kept most of the key players from Al’s cadre and used them to also inaugurate the first Gary Air Show and the first Las Vegas Air Show. He hired us to perform in these shows and kept us coming back to the Chicago Air & Water Show, year after year. When he needed someone to fly over a parade or a civic celebration, such as the Bulls Championship rallies, or the Olympic Torch Celebration, Rudy called on Lima Lima. We became what Rudy termed: “The House Team”.  In our darkest hours, after the Evans crash, Rudy drove out to Aurora on a Friday night with us, commiserating, advising, and encouraging a team that was in shock. He advised to; “Keep Flying….Stay Together”. This was not business advice, this was psyche-saving advice from a friend……maybe the best friend the Lima Lima Flight Team ever had.

Rudy the Restaurateur
Rudy the Air Show Promoter
Susan and John Rippinger with Rudy at an ICAS convention

J.O. Martin Has Flown West

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our good friend and former team member J.O. Martin has flown West. J.O. passed away Sunday, December 12. Up until a week ago he was still playing golf and tennis at age 93. J.O. was a retired United Airlines Captain, and a USAF Pilot. He flew the DC-10 for United and the T-6, T-28, T-33, F-80, F-84, F-86F and the F-86L for the USAF. He was also an ardent golfer, skier and tennis palyer. He flew the number three position on the flight team from 1994 through 1997.He is survived by his wife Arlene and two daughters.

Blue skies and tail winds J.O.

Mark “Bano” Banovetz is the Newest Member of the Team

Mark is an aviation attorney and a Managing Partner of Tressler LLP, a national law firm based in Chicago.  Mark has dedicated his career to aviation related legal work, representing pilots, FBO’s, maintenance facilities, airlines, aviation insurers, and other aviation related enterprises.   Mark resides at Naper Aero (LL10), the Illinois airpark where the Lima Lima Flight Team was founded.   Mark served as the Airport Board President at Naper Aero from 2007 to 2012, having previously served as President of the Naperville Flying Club – a longstanding flying club based at the field.  In addition to performing with the Lima Lima Flight Team, Mark flies his T-34 for charity rides to benefit veterans and the disabled.    Mark has lived at Naper Aero since 2003 with his wife Lisa, where they raised their three adult children – Mark Jr, Alexis and Benjamin.  Mark’s T-34 (LL34 – N244RF) is regularly spotted in the skies over the greater Naperville area and is well known and enjoyed by the local community.

Peter Jacobs, Blue Angel #7 Has Gone West

We lost our good friend and airshow pilot Peter Jacobs to Covid last week. Peter was one fine gentleman and deserves the missing man formation from the Lima Lima Flight Team.

Happy 4th of July from the Lima Lima Flight Team

Mount Rushmore was just one of many national monuments that the Lima Lima Flight Team had the privilege to fly over.

An Expeditious Landing

I guarantee you that you will not see a seven ship formation landing very often. (Probably never again due to increased safety standards). This shot was taken from Skip Aldous’s number seven aircraft while landing at Oshkosh just before the actual airshow started. We had just completed a photo shoot with renowned air-t-air photographer Paul Bowen. The way this landing works is that the the number seven (last) aircraft touches down on the “numbers” and lets the lead know that he is down and under control. Then the the slot aircraft lands with numbers five and six on his wing. He announces to lead that they are down and under control at which time the lead lands with numbers two and three on his wing. This of course requires a long runway, a very thorough briefing and rock solid formation pilots. I strongly recommend that you do not try this at home!