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.