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Sun ’n Fun Today -

March 27-April 1, 2012

Black Diamond Jet Team: The Home Team When the Black Diamond Jet Team performs during this week’s airshow, you may see the crowd react a bit more enthusiastically. That’s because the Black Diamonds are Lakeland’s “home team,” based right here at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL). The team’s fleet of five L-39s, two MiG-17s, as well as their maintenance and support personnel, are headquartered in hangar and office space in the old Piper Aircraft building. Last year, the team performed at SUN ’n FUN under the name Heavy Metal Jet Team. But when Gene Conrad, the manager of LAL, approached the team about relocating to Lakeland — after getting the backing of City Hall and the SUN ’n FUN management team — the jet team moved here permanently. Since landing in Lakeland, the Black Diamond Jet Team has added another aircraft to its routine. In addition to the four aircraft precision formation of L-39s, the team also features two solo performers flying MiG-17s. The L-39 formation is led by Lt. Colonel Jerry “Jive” Kerby, USAF (retired). Civilian Jared “Rook” Isaacman flies the right wing, while Doug “Tut” Demko takes the left wing position. The slot position is flown by Major Sean “Stroker” Gustafson, USAF Reserve, while the dynamic L-39 position is taken by Major John “Slick” Baum, USAF. Captain Dale

“Snort” Snodgrass, USN (retired) fills the lead solo position at the controls of a MiG-17, while his opposing solo pilot

is Commander Mike “Buick” Eberhardt, USN (retired). The Black Diamonds are slated to per-

form in every airshow this week, except Thursday.

April 1, 2012 SUN 'n FUN Today  
April 1, 2012 SUN 'n FUN Today  

The April 1, 2012 edition of SUN 'n FUN Today produced daily during the show in Lakeland, Florida.