Chris Rounds is definitely not a stranger in the cockpit of a plane. Growing up around the aviation industry, Chris first started learning to fly when he was only eleven years old. Since his first solo at age 16, Chris has put in over 10,000 hours of flight time as a pilot and has flown over 70 different aircraft.
Chris knew at an early age that he wanted to work in the aviation industry and started pursuing that goal while still in high school. Chris received both a commercial license and a commercial and instrument ratings before he had even graduated from high school. He continued his education in aviation at Auburn University in Alabama where he obtained a degree in Aviation Management. After completing his studies at Auburn, Chris received his Airline Transport Rating and Airframe and Powerplant license as well. He flew for an airline for three years before he decided to add entrepreneur to his résumé by starting his own business, Rounds Aviation in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The company specializes in finding and restoring warbirds and installing avionics. As a Certified Instructor Pilot as well, Chris provides formation instruction and T-6 checkouts at the Rounds Aviation facility in Tullahoma.
Chris has been performing in airshows in T-34’s, T-28’s and T-6’s since the early 1980’s. He knew he wanted something faster and more exciting to fly as an aerobatics performer when he heard about the availability of the Red Knight in the fall of 2002. Chris was familiar with the plane and its history because it had been performing in the US since 1990. In particular, the Red Knight had been the pace plane for the Reno Air races in Nevada during the early 1990’s. However, the jet had not flown since the untimely death in 1993 of its owner and pilot, the late Rick Brickert. Anne Brickert, Rick’s widow, had kept the T-33 stored in a hangar in Houston, Texas for almost a decade when Chris called to ask her about it. After several months of negotiations, Red Knight Air Shows, LLC took delivery of the Red Knight in June of 2003, and it was returned to the airshow circuit for the 2004 season.