The Lima Lima Flight Team

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Yearly Archives: 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when the pilots and families of the Lima Lima Flight Team traditionally extend our warmest holiday greetings to all of our friends, fans, sponsors and airshow promoters. Without your continued support we would not be going into our 30th year in the airshow business.2017-christmas-card-112817zh-WEB-EMAIL

Elvis and the Lima Lima Back-up Singers

It was very early in our careers when we thought that packaging an airshow act during the day and and a headliner singing act at night would enhance our cash flow….NOT. Pictured left to right: Skip Aldous, Elvis, Bill Cherwin, John Rippinger and Lou Drendel. Not sure who is standing behind the King. scan0107

Two Questions That Can’t Be Answered Honestly

The first is “how does this dress make by butt look?” and the second is “making a choice between your airplane and your wifeRipper & Lucy web size“.

We Remember

It was sixteen years ago next week that the tragedy we now refer to simply as 9-11 occurred. This picture was taken several years before during an airshow that we were performing in Suffolk County NY. Just remember that freedom is not free.

liberty twin towers

Vlado Lenoch Has Gone West

On July 17 we lost one of our dear friends and mentors, Vlado Lenoch. He and his passenger died at an airshow in Kansas during a VIP ride. No cause for the accident has been determined. Vlado mentored the Lima Lima Flight Team for over twenty years and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.



We toast our faithful comrades
Now fallen from the sky
And gently caught by God’s own hand
To be with Him on high.

To dwell among the soaring clouds
They knew so well before
From dawn patrol and victory roll
At heaven’s very door.

And as we fly among them there
Were sure to hear their plea–
“Take care, my friend; watch your six,
And do one more roll…Just for me.”

~Gerald Coffee

Lima Lima and the Aeroshell Team over Stone Mountain

This picture shows the Lima Lima Flight team with the Aeroshell flight team over Stone Mountain near Atlanta Georgia last month at the Good Neighbor Airshow. In my humble opinion, these are the two best four-ship teams in the world. Both have been in the airshow business for over thirty years. Thanks to John Willhoff for the great air to air shot. Stone Mountain (1)


ATLANTA, GA — The precision flight of the Lima Lima Flight Team performed over the Good Neighbor Day Airshow on Saturday exciting huge crowds in attendance as they witnessed the maneuvers performed by the pilots of yesterday and today.

Their four yellow Beechcraft T-34 aircraft soared over the Peachtree-DeKalb Airport on June 10 as they transitted from right to left before the crowd as the lead pilot radioed “smoke-on”. Seconds later, the team began their climb into a forty-five degree angle straight up aginst the cold blue sky. It is their diamond formation — four planes flying as one just a few feet apart — which gave over 12,000 guests reason to applaude and cheer.

Designed by Walter Beech in 1949, the Beechcraft T-34A was built as a primary trainer for the Air Force and Navy as the jet age began. The Air Force contracted them right away and flew with them during the 1950’s. Meanwhile, the Navy continued flying the T-34 until 1972. Today, the military and even NASA use the single prop aircraft for different reasons.

Airshow Enthusiasm

“As a former Navy captain, I understand the incredible pride it takes to put multiple aircraft in the sky and into a syncronized plan in the sky,” said Lima Lima’s slot pilot Roger “Fritz” Fritzler from PDK’s flight line on Saturday. “Formation is a lot of fun and to do it in an aerobatic routine is even more fun — it just brings it to another level trying to stay precise in the same piece of sky.”

The team’s origins began forty-one years ago, thrilling crowds with formation flying in the midwest of the United States. Today, they are slowly performing at new show sites on the east coast and the southeast. Fritz, who joined Lima Lima in 2013, added this was their first visit to Atlanta, and they look forward for a possible return trip next year.

The four pilots for the 2017 and 2018 seasons include lead pilot Skip “Scooter” Aldous, Steve “Hoss” Smith, Mark “Enigma” Miller, and “Fritz” Fritzler. All four pilots carried early asperations of wanting to fly during their youth — three of them later entered military service and piloted top military aircraft.

As the four pilots stood together in conversation, they carried a tone of excitement as the prepared for an afternoon flight. Each with a positive tone about flying, discussing with a few airport officials how stongly they want to encourage today’s youth about the many fields of aviation.

“We want to make spectators excited and enthusiastic about aviation,” said “Scooter” Aldous as he stood near his yellow Beechcraft sporting the word ‘Navy’ on its fueslage. “We try to make our performance exciting, we want to hear a lot of ohhhs and ahhh’s coming from the crowd.”

Scooter added that the team performs every maneuver before the crowd at each show. From take-off to landing, Lima Lima stays in front of the guests in attendance.

Two Aerobatic Teams Soar Together

During the airshow weekend, the four pilots of Lima Lima joined with their brothers of Team Aeroshell to perform an eight plane close formation flight over Stone Mountain. The historic Georgia landmark is located east of Atlanta and just a few minutes by flight south of Peachtree-DeKalb Airport.

Following a preflight briefing between the two teams, Lima Lima took off first in finger tip formation from runway 21, gained altitude, and Fritz then maneuvered his number 4 aircraft into the slot position to form the diamond. Aeroshell then departed two minutes later and manuvered in the same fashion to form their own diamond.

This aerospace journalist flew along with Fritz to record the rare event as the two aerobatic diamonds flew in formation with the skyline of Atlanta in the close distance. Great weather greeted the aircraft as two teams set up for the formation over the park.

Following one practice pass in front of the massive granite mountain, the Lima Lima Flight Team and Team Aeroshell went smoke-on and performed a beautiful pass before Stone Mountain. On the headset, the pilots of each team were calm, but as the teams separated from one another the conversation was one of ecstatic chatter and goodwill.

Images: Charles A. Atkeison and John Willhoff

Rob O’Neill, The Navy Seal Who Killed Osama bin Laden

Rob O'NeillThis picture shows John Rippinger presenting Rob O’Neill a Lima Lima Flight Team coin in honor of his service to our country as a Navy Seal. Rob’s two most notable missions (He participated in over 400) were the rescue of Captain Roberts and the elimination of Osama bin Laden. May 1 is the sixth anniversary of the bin Laden raid. I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book “The Operator” to get the real story of how the raid went down. Rob is a true patriot and a great American.

Lima Lima in Arizona

This is how artist P. Van Stigt envisioned how the Lima Lima Flight Team would look flying over the Sonoran desert in Arizona. It’s a great depiction of Lou Drendel flying solo in “00”.LimaLimaArizona

The Buffalo Chip Bar, aka Lambeau Field West

This picture shows John Rippinger presenting Larry Wendt (owner of the Buffalo Chip Bar) a picture of the Lima Lima Flight Team flying over Lambeau Field for the Packers-Lions game in 2014. Larry’s bar, located in Cave Creek AZ, burned to the ground on Thanksgiving day last year. He lost all of his Green Bay Packer memorabilia so the team thought we could start him off with a picture of his beloved Lambeau Field at his newly reopened “Chip.”