FLiEGERREVUE is an aviation magazine that originated in the former German Democratic Republic, commonly known as East Germany.
The story of the FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team originates with its extraordinary paint scheme. It was decided that a new colour scheme would be required for the first FliEGERREVUE operated aircraft, an all-white Zlín Z-42 MU, owned by the Aeroclub at Berlin-Schönefeld, as at the time it only carried the FLiEGERREVUE logo on the tail.
To find a new, exciting and eye-catching scheme, a FLiEGERREVUE readers contest was started in 1996. The response of the readership was tremendous. Eventually Mr. Marcus Hannes won the contest with his all black colour scheme which included flames licking back down the fuselage from the engine. This scheme was applied to D-EWNT, the Zlín Z 42 MU.
The aircraft in its new scheme was introduced to the public at the 1997 Open House at Berlin's Schönefeld Airport. An all-black display caravan, towed by a matching van, supported the new aircraft at airshows. The air and ground crew also wore all black flying suits, so even in its first season the newly-formed FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team attracted attention at various airshows throughout Germany.
The team expanded still further in the spring of 1999, with the addition of Dr. Ingo Janicke (who today is still known as 'Black Doc'). Ingo flew D-EBWY, his Zlín Z 226 T Trenér, in a program of classic aerobatics while providing a radio commentary from the cockpit! Occasionally, Ingo even flew his display with a passenger on board the two-seat aircraft. At this time, the two-ship team was known to tower crews by the nickname "Black Devils". March 2001 saw the FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team expand into a four-ship display team.
The Mecklenburg Formation team, known as MEKFOR, was a newly formed team based at Neustadt-Glewe. As their Zlín Z 42 and Z 43s came up for scheduled maintenance, they were repainted, one at a time, into the now familiar black FLiEGERREVUE colour scheme. The last Zlín was repainted just in time to take part in ILA (Internationale Luftfahrtausstellung, International Air Show) 2002 at Berlin-Schönefeld. The new team was accompanied by a new, larger caravan which served as a team base and merchandising platform with an expanded ground crew under the leadership of Torsten Ott. At ILA 2002, a new name was introduced, "Black For", short for Black Formation, which was used as the team's callsign. This caused some confusion, so the name was changed to "Black Birds", under which the team flew until the end of 2004.
In the Autumn of 2004 the FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team formed a new partnership with Jorg Müller of Air Experience, based in Merseburg. Jörg became the new Team Leader, a position he holds to this day. This new partnership was intended to create a new, fully aerobatic team, beginning with two Yak aircraft. Initially, a single Yak-50 and Yak-52 began practicing the new program, already painted in the FLiEGERREVUE black scheme, under the name "Black Jacks". The first public display of the new team took place at the Aero 2005 show at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance, and already the team had expanded to three aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the full team of two black Yak-50s and three Yak-52s were in service as the only five-ship aerobatic team in Germany.
Unusually, Jörg Müller, the team leader flies in the number 4 or slot position at the rear of the formation. From this position, Jörg breaks out of the formation to perform solo maneuvers like the Apache-roll. Thomas Schröder acts as formation guide in the lead position. with Bernd Seifferth and Helmut Hildebrandt as left and right wingmen. Christian Raithel also flies as the extra team pilot.
The FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team, known amongst air show experts as the FAT, performs its display up to fifteen times a year at air shows all over Germany and abroad.
During the display the team fills the sky with close formation maneuvers and opposition crosses, leaving their distinctive smoke trails in the air. Of course, the smoke is not just for artistic purposes, but forms a vital part of the teams safety concept, the trails allowing team members to see the other aircraft clearly even at a distance.
The five aircraft of the "Black Jacks" are based at the separate airfields of Altenburg. Merseburg, Reinsdorf and Rerik, all situated in the Eastern half of Germany. All of their training is conducted in the pilot's spare time, and this always necessitates gathering the aircraft at a convenient central location. Unusually for such a professional display team, the pilots themselves all have full time jobs, ranging from manager and marketing engineer to flying instructor. However, one member is lucky enough to be retired from full time employment!
Further team expansion was realized in 2008 by the introduction of a Beech C23 Sundowner 180 four-seat touring aircraft, while in 2009 another addition is planned. That will be a new aerobatic aircraft, a Focke-Wulf built Piaggio P.149 four-seat military training aircraft, flying under the name "Black Piggi". The team can also bring another unusual aircraft to airshows, a Yak-12M. The Yak-12M is a four-seat high-wing aircraft with an extremely short take-off capability, similar to the famous Fieseler Storch. The Jak-12M is a very rare aircraft, this one does not fly in the FLiEGERREVUE black scheme, instead appearing in its original Polish Aeroclub colours.
Finally, the team caravan supports the FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team's powerful presence at displays, acting as the ground crew station and team meeting point. It is so much a vital part of the team that it has its own call sign, "Black Box". In the caravan, show visitors can find team souvenirs and team aircraft models, as well as a wide range of aviation literature and, of course, all the other excellent FLiEGERREVUE marketing products.
For more information about "Black Doc", "Black Lift", the "Black Jacks" and all the elements of the FLiEGERREVUE Airshow Team, please visit our home page at www.fliegerrevue.de and click on the Airshow Team button. Here you will also find a large collection of team photographs which can be downloaded (free of charge of course).