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The Pilots

Skip “Scooter” Aldous
Lake City, FL
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Skip is the retired president of five “Metric” motorcycle dealerships in northern Florida and southern Georgia.  He began flying with the Air Force in 1965 and retired in 1994, as the squadron commander of the 159th Fighter Squadron, FANG. after flying the T-33, T-37, T-38, F-102, F-106, and the F-16.  He has accumulated more than 6,000 hours of flying time and began flying the T-34 in 1998.  He has been flying on the team since 2000 and transitioned to team lead in 2013. Skip, along with his wife Patti, live at Cannon Creek Airpark in Lake City, FL.

 

 

 

Steve “Hoss” Smith
Ellicott City MD

Steve Smith

Steve has been a successful business operations executive in a variety of industries.  He spends his time when not flying airshows, between homes in Maryland and South Carolina where his T-34 is hangered.  Steve has flown more than 4500 hours over 30 years in 40+ aircraft types.  He started flying the T-34 in 2003 and joined the Lima Lima Flight Team in 2013 flying the Right Wing position.  His non-airshow flying has earned him ATP land and sea certificates, Gold Seal CFII and Master CFII credentials and Formation Leader qualification.  Steve learned to fly after graduating from the Air Force Academy and was a military pilot in the C-130 Hercules, the O-2A Forward Air Control airplane and the F-15 Eagle.

 

 

Mark “Enigma” Miller
Paragon, IN   

 Mark Miller

Mark is a third generation general aviation pilot, who got an early introduction to flying in his Grandfather’s Cessna 170B.  Arabian show horses replaced aircraft in Mark’s parent’s home, which took him all over the Mid-West during his youth.  Mark’s passion for aviation returned in the late eighties, when he moved to the Naperville area, near LL10.  He dedicated over 5 years to accumulate the piloting hours necessary to buy a share of his first T-34 in 2003.  Mark qualified for the team in 2007 and now is part owner of two T-34s. Mark works as a manager for an international earthmoving equipment manufacturer.  He resides in Montgomery Illinois.

 

 

Roger “Fritz” Fritzler
San Diego, CA

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Roger has been flying with American Airlines for over 30 years, currently piloting the 787 out of Chicago to points in Europe, South America and Asia.  He has had the opportunity to fly almost all models of the Boeing family as well as the MD DC-10 and MD-80 aircraft.  As a US Navy pilot, he flew the F-14A Tomcat off the decks of the USS Kitty Hawk with the VF-111 Sundowners in multiple WESTPACs during the 70s and 80s.  Later, he flew the A-4 Skyhawk with the adversary squadron VFC-13 out of Miramar, San Diego, and commanded the reserve training squadron at NAS Corpus Christi.  With his first American paycheck, he purchased the T-34A Mentor that he flies today as the Lima Lima slot pilot, after having joined the team in 2014.

 

Michael “Mikey” Marco
Jacksonville, FL

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Michael Marco, a native of Jacksonville FL, grew up in an aviation family and has been flying since he was 14. A third generation pilot, Michael has accumulated 3000hrs of flight time during several years flying Bushplanes in Alaska and was an aerobatic instructor at the Patty Wagstaff Aerobatic School in St. Augustine FL. He currently works full time at his family’s Ophthalmic Sales company in Jacksonville managing sales for North and Central FL. He also runs the sales department for Fly-Lite Aviation, which manufactures underwing lighting solutions for backcountry aircraft operations. Michael joined the team in 2018.

 

John “Ripper” Rippinger
Scottsdale, AZ

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John is president and CVO of Rippinger Financial Group, Inc. a Scottsdale-based insurance and employee benefit firm. He has been flying for over 50 years in both fixed wing and balloons. He was co-pilot on the gas balloon “Chicago” which won the 1981 U.S. National Championship. John manages the 20+ product sponsors for the team as well as the website. John, his wife Susan and their dog Aileron live  in Scottsdale, AZ. He started flying T-34’s in 1989 and has been a member of the team since 1992. He recently retired from the aerobatic flying part of the team to concentrate on the management portion. 

 

 

 

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