OFF DUTY STORY : With Pilot Bruno
Fast forward to 2018, we were contacted again by the new movie's costume team. As the current official USAF supplier of the iconic A-2 leather flight jacket , we are honored to be a part of this unsurpassed piece of Naval and movie history. We can't wait to watch the premiere of "Maverick"!
Today, we invite you to join us in brining back "that loving feeling" that can only be found when sliding one's arms into a Cockpit USA "Movie Hero" leather flight jacket! Our creative team connected with Pilot Bruno, who shared his childhood dreams of becoming a "Top Gun Pilot" which inspired his career in aviation, and the reason why he wears our "Move Hero" Top Gun II jacket.
When I was 5 years old, I rode with my Dad to the São Paulo International Airport (the city I’m originally from) to drop off a friend of his that was flying home. After they said goodbye, he took me to the terrace (yes, airports still had panoramic terraces those days) and we spent hours watching planes land and takeoff. On that day, something clicked in me, and by the time I got home... I was hooked on Aviation.
I spent my entire childhood and teenage years fascinated with planes. I read books, watched thousands of videos, and spent all of my free time playing (well, “flying”) Microsoft Flight Simulator.
It wasn’t until I turned 35, that I handled the controls of a real plane for the first time, a Piper Cherokee 180. I was in the right seat, and my friend Neal had invited my wife and I for a “burger” flight. He let me have the controls for 5 minutes and once we had landed, I was convinced that it was finally time for me to pursue my childhood dream.
I remember asking my Dad to rent the “Top Gun” movie every weekend! I wanted to be a "Top Gun Pilot", I watched it every single weekend with my brother—who also loves the movie to this day.
The day I received my Private Pilot’s license, I felt this incredible feeling that I had discovered the thing that I love to do the most. There aren’t many things that can beat that feeling.
I get DMs from people all over the world saying my Instagram inspired them to pursue their own Aviation dreams. It means the world to me.
Through my “inspirational influencers", people who were setting the tone for Aviation on social media, and motivating others like me to keep pursuing their dreams. One of them is @pilotannie (Annie Vogel), whose Instagram page has always been incredibly aspirational to me! She flies in Canada and is always sharing photos, wearing her signature Cockpit USA brown leather bomber jacket. I’ve been a fan ever since.
I fly a Grumman AA5A. It’s known as “Grumman Cheetah”.
Since the 1940s, Grumman had a tradition of naming its planes after felines: Wildcat, Lynx, Cheetah, Tiger… Tomcat.
That’s right. The F-14 Tomcat was built by Grumman, in their former Calverton factory, located a few miles away from where I did my flight training in Long Island, NY and near the American Airpower Museum, started by Jeff and Jacky and also sponsored by Cockpit USA.
I learned how to fly next to the place where my favorite fighter jet was once built, I now fly it's (sort of) “distant” cousin... The Cheetah. It is much slower, of course, and doesn’t carry missiles… but in some ways, you can tell they share the same blood.
2022 is the year that I decided to make Aviation a true lifestyle for me. My wife and I recently flew the Cheetah from New York to Lakeland, FL for Sun’n Fun, and it was an epic trip. Now we’re already planning our next adventures! I want to fly all over the country (and also to Canada and the Caribbean), and I hope to bring everyone with me through Instagram. We will be attending the Memorial Day celebration at the American Airpower Museum, and we look forward to seeing everyone there. I have some amazing adventures to explore, and I can’t wait to share!