Originally Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org
Darn nice MIG! Where'd you fly 'em:-)?
Ha! Nice catch
It's a crazy story... Back in 2017, when my dad and I started getting serious about building the Aircam, I happened to look on the Lockwood forums and found a potential partner in Fernandina Beach who was looking for someone to build with. After meeting up over coffee and again at Sun N Fun in 2018, we struck a deal to do a partnership in the airplane. At the time, all I knew about Rob or Z-Man as I call him was that he flew in the USAF and was about to retire as the United 75/76 line standards manager. Once we got started on the build, as you can imagine, after spending thousands of hours hanging out, the story's started to come out, and he begins to fill me in on the 4477th TES and his Mig background! Needless to say, I was blown away. I had no idea the program even existed. It turns out the Rob started in F-4's, then went to F-5's as an aggressor pilot, which eventually led to him getting the invitation to join the 4477th. It's absolutely wild to hear him talk about flying the Mig 21 and 23. He would eventually get over 500hrs combined between the 2 airframes before his tour ran out, and he ended his career in the AF in the F-15. To this day, Rob tells me that a clean 23 on the deck will still outrun anything in our arsenal...
As we started to finish our Aircam build, I thought it would be cool to spruce our hanger up, so we had these killer vinyl graphics made, and I mounted them on acrylic. Looking back, it was a total PITA, but it came out awesome, and it makes our hanger look great. As a nod to the squadron, we registered our Aircams tail number as 4477TS. One of the cooler things out there is this sole surviving photo of a pilot in front on one of the 23's, turns out it's Rob ha! I believe he was 28 when this was taken, big balls man, big balls....
Good interview with Rob, its a little humbling to be on the other side of the partnership but Rob has taken me under his wing like family. We have a ton of fun.