Behind "Desert Rhinos
At Work And Play"

by Hank Caruso

    As Aerocatures™ fans know, there are often "inside stories" buried within these illustrations and "Desert Rhinos . . ." is no exception. The central idea for this Aerocature™ is the flight training operation for German pilots, the GAFTTC, at Holloman AFB , New Mexico. Motorcycles are popular for fighter pilots and the venerable F-4 Rhino certainly deserves such a mount. The rear seat is appropriately adorned with the obligatory biker chick, who wears a desert scorpion on an ankle leash. The "Kaiser" helmet serves to show the German involvement as well as being a popular item of biker garb. The chopper is equipped with F-4 tailhook, fuel tank, AIM-120 AAMRAM missiles, and a HUD (heads-up display).

    The Rhino sports an HO tatoo (for Holloman AFB) and a Silver Lobos squadron patch. The "ICE" ID patch stands for the Luftwaffe F-4 Improved Combat Efficiency modification patch. The local New Mexico air guard call sign is Taco, hence the snack on which the Rhino is munching. A couple of F-117 Stink Bugs (also stationed at Holloman) are treated with careful respect by the Rhino. Finally, the mountain formation referred to as the Pipe Organ sets the background locale.

--Hank Caruso