The North American Aerobatic Team (NAAT), the iconic 40-year veteran air show demonstration team, announced today that beginning December 3, 2023, they will fly under the TITAN Aviation Fuels brand as the TITAN Aerobatic Team. The group, founded in 1984 by Alan Henley, EAA Lifetime 216639, and Steve Gustafson, has become one of aviation’s mainstays, flying first under their own NAAT name, then as the AeroShell Aerobatic Team since 2001. They fly tight, awe-inspiring formation aerobatics in WWII-era North American AT-6 Texans, the aircraft famously known as the “Pilot Maker” due to its critical role as an advanced military trainer from the late 1930s well into the 1950s.
Buddy Stallings, EAA Lifetime 253872, chairman of TITAN Aviation Fuels, is enthusiastic about their new title sponsorship. “Having our brand associated with this team is a perfect match,” he said. “These ‘gentlemen pilots’ represent all the qualities we want to promote at TITAN – precision operations, a high-quality product, professional service, and extraordinary work ethic. We’re thrilled to be flying with them!”
Mark Henley, EAA Lifetime 441982, has been flying with the NAAT group since 1997, and assumed the lead position after his twin brother Alan was injured in a non-aviation accident in 2008. He commented on the positive change for the team as it transitions to its new sponsor, saying “We’ve known Buddy and the TITAN company for many years. We are excited about our new relationship and are looking forward to representing all the great folks that make this company such a quality organization across America.”
“We have been so blessed to be in this business for so long,” said team co-founder Steve. “Alan and I began this team with a simple idea at an air show, and it has just grown over the years with the help of some amazing sponsors and our loyal fans. It’s truly incredible, and we are very humbled and grateful to be doing what we love.”
The change is a significant milestone in the team’s history, as AeroShell was its title sponsor for more than two decades. Gustafson was emphatic about the gratitude and respect they have for their long-running relationship. “AeroShell has been a wonderful sponsor and absolutely awesome to work with all these years. We have nothing but great things to say about their support, their products, and all the good people that represent them around the world. It’s been a wonderful relationship, and I’m proud to say we’re parting on good terms.”
The TITAN Aerobatic Team will begin flying in March 2024 with brand new paint schemes, uniforms, and promotional materials. Henley says the look is new, but the team and their demo will be the exciting, dynamic performance fans have known and loved as they head into their 40th year in air shows. “We just do what we do and try to give the fans and show promoters a great experience with a great show. We love it, and it’s very special to be able to open a new chapter even after all this time.”