Major Paul “Loco” Lopez

Major Paul “Loco” Lopez is the commander and pilot for the 2018 F-22 Raptor Demo Team. He is the first African-American F-22 Raptor Demo pilot and will showcase the full capabilities of the aircraft at the Atlanta Air Show on October 13-14, 2018 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.   Growing up in Virginia Beach, Air Force... View Article


Major Paul “Loco” Lopez is the commander and pilot for the 2018 F-22 Raptor Demo Team. He is the first African-American F-22 Raptor Demo pilot and will showcase the full capabilities of the aircraft at the Atlanta Air Show on October 13-14, 2018 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

 

Growing up in Virginia Beach, Air Force Maj. Paul “Loco” Lopez Jr. remembers the thrill he got from seeing Navy fighter jets flying over his house. His parents bought him books on aviation and took him to air shows to encourage his growing passion, and he joined the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps at Salem High School.

 

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Lopez received his Air Force commission after graduation from North Carolina A&T University and flew the F-15C before transitioning to the stealth F-22 Raptor. After being assigned to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska for the last several years, Lopez has returned home to Langley Air Force Base and his hometown where he was raised.


For Loco, flying is like a little kid going to the toy store. “Your adrenaline is pumping, your blood is going,” Lopez said. “You’ve got the butterflies in your stomach, especially when you’re about to do the demonstration because you’re about to perform for thousands of people. It’s not so much that you’re looking at the crowd but you just want to make sure you’re flying the best airplane possible.”

 

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