The Patriots Jet Team is a civilian aerobatic formation team that performs in air shows across the western United States of America. The team currently operates as a six-ship team, flying the Czech-built Aero L-39 Albatros. The Patriots are based in Byron, California. The team is owned by former United Airlines pilot Randy Howell It is sponsored by companies including Hot Line Construction, Inc. and supported by a ground crew of more than 25 volunteers. The Patriots Jet Team, the largest civilian-owned aerobatic jet team in the western hemisphere.
This mission hit the ground running in 1999, when the first of the Patriots aircraft were purchased, followed by additional jets in 2004, 2005, and 2011. The team began flying demonstrations in 2003 with just two L-39 aircraft. The aircraft were disassembled in Europe, shipped via truck, rail, and sea in containers to the United States. In the 2004 airshow season a third L-39 was added. With the success of the 2005 season, the Patriots added a fourth jet for the 2006 season. In 2010, the Patriots Jet Team expanded to a six-ship aerobatic formation team.
The talented group of pilots was first assembled in 2002 by Howell. Based in Byron, CA, the Patriots Jet Team features pilots who were formerly part of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels. They have logged over 105,000 hours of flight time and performed in more than 1500 air shows. The volunteer pilots all share the same genuine passion to entertain audiences at air shows and other events, while also encouraging the nation’s youth toward careers in the aviation and aerospace fields.
In the summer of 2012, the Patriots Jet Team moved into the 35,000 square foot Jet and Event Center. This facility enables the team to house all seven jets as well as two MiG-17s under one roof, and still have plenty of room to spare. Equally important is that the skilled mechanics team can now perform maintenance at the same location. Additionally, the hangar has become a favorite hangout for aviation enthusiasts of all ages. The state-of-the-art facility is also home to the Patriots Jet Team Foundation, and youngsters come from all over to attend science and aviation classes.