Jim Kilpatrick


“Bandits 12 O’clock High” was a familiar call in World War Two.  The term “Bandits” is the aviation name for unidentified aircraft. The Bandit Flight Team adopted this aviation term as their team name and you will see unidentified planes in formation with smoke over New Bern on June 21-23, and it will be the Bandits. 

The Bandits are very excited to perform fly overs at New Bern for the Friday, June 21 concert and for the raft race Saturday morning, June 22.  Formation flying with only three feet between aircraft requires precision flying and hours of training.  The team has adopted New Bern as their summer training location and this year are able to combine their summer training and these fly overs.  Residents will also see them through out Saturday and Sunday as they fly over New Bern to their training areas and see them salute the city’s recovery spirit by turning their smoke on over New Bern on the way to their training airspace.  

The Bandits are a 501-C- 3 non-profit with the mission of saluting our military men and women.  The Teams motto is “Flying for the Flag” and they specialize in National Anthem fly overs.  This provides the team an opportunity to salute our military men and women, nobody is “taking a knee” with this team.  The Bandit Team performs at 40-50 events a year including all NC State football games, NASCAR events at Charlotte, Martinsville, Dover, Richmond, and several Carolina Panthers football games.  They also fly for civic events including Race for the Cure, The Durham Bulls, Carolina Railhawks, Azalea Festival, Raleigh Christmas Parade, and many Veterans’ events.  Complete details on the Team and their schedule are available at their website.


Additional Information

The team was formed in 2010 and is composed of highly-trained experienced formation pilots combining their love of flying and adding a lasting impression to any event.   The Bandits are based at Raleigh Executive Airport, NC.  The team is flying 2 Russian YAK 52’s and 7 U.S. Vans Acrobatic RV-7 & RV-8 Aircraft. The YAK’s were designed and built as military trainers and all the aircraft are acrobatic with internal smoke systems, perfect for formation flying.

The Yakovlev Yak-52 is a Soviet primary trainer aircraft which first flew in 1976 and it is still being produced in Romania.  The Yak-52 was designed originally as an aerobatic trainer for students in the Soviet training organization, which trained both civilian sport pilots and military pilots. Since the early 1990s and the fall of the Soviet Union, many Yak 52s were exported to the west. Of the approximately 1,800 produced to date, most now fly in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and other western countries.

The Van’s series of sport aircraft are a popular pilot built aircraft.   There are fully acrobatic, two-seat, single-engine homebuilt aircraft sold in kit form by Van’s Aircraft.   Several models of these aircraft exist and they are either tandem or side-by-side seating.   The RV-8 & RV-4 are tandem two seat aircraft and the RV-7 & RV-14 have side-by-side seats.

Bandits Schedule

Friday, June 21 – Rockin on the Rivers Kickoff Concert

They will do a Patriotic “Flyover” Air Show during the Kickoff Concert

Will have a table set up at the concert signing autographs


Saturday, June 22 – The Great Trent River Raft Race

Flyover Air Show – at the Opening Ceremony

Flyover Air Show – at the Awards Ceremony

Random flyovers throughout the day.

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