Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

The jet next door

Look what's behind his hangar doors

Mauricio Frizzarin has a lot of toys. Some are more impressive than others. Like his two “Ferrari of the sky” Marchetti fighter jets. Everyone needs a fighter jet or two, right?
It’s not unusual for his airpark neighbors to see Frizzarin ready to fly his fighter jet. Photography by David Tulis. Mauricio Frizzarin’s hangar is filled with a variety of “toys” including the usual sports car. In the hangar is also the not-so-usual Tron Light Cycle from the movie Tron Legacy, which Frizzarin keeps in the hangar but rarely rides because, he says, it’s not very comfortable. The livery of his Marchetti is painted black and gray with a skull and crossbones because “I like it,” he says. Frizzarin enjoys flying around his home base in Wellington, Florida, in another of his aircraft, an Aerospatiale Gazelle helicopter, which he describes as easy and comfortable to fly. He also enjoys its great visibility and the fact that it seats five comfortably. Frizzarin enjoys flying around his home base in Wellington, Florida, in another of his aircraft, an Aerospatiale Gazelle helicopter, which he describes as easy and comfortable to fly. He also enjoys its great visibility and the fact that it seats five comfortably. Mauricio Frizzarin in formation.

Here’s the story: Brazilian born Frizzarin fell in love with aviation at a young age, but in Brazil—he grew up in Sao Paulo—the opportunities to fly were limited and his parents weren’t that keen. He went to the local airport nearly every day and watched takeoffs and landings, dreaming of learning to fly. Unfortunately, he met someone at the airport who, when told Frizzarin had myopia (nearsightedness) in one eye, told the young man with that condition he’d never be able to become a pilot. Dejected but not defeated, Frizzarin turned his relentless energy to another passion: developing software. At 17 he created an accounting software program, which quickly grew to serve more than 100,000 customers and attracted the attention of international companies. It was so successful that, as Frizzarin says, “I started making a lot of money.” An understatement. It was the second-largest software firm sale in Brazil’s history, according to The Silicon Review magazine online.

Becoming a wealthy young man and running a successful company did not deter him from going to the airport. He was still passionate about aviation and luckily ran into someone there who told him better news: yes, he could learn to fly even with his eye condition.

“Now I had enough money to buy an airplane, so it worked out,” said Frizzarin with a grin.

It’s almost too much to write—from his first aircraft, a Cessna 172—the entrepreneur moved on to turboprops, to jets, to helicopters, to a Stearman, to a T–6, to a Cessna Citation CJ2, to a Cessna Sovereign, to an Icon. He wanted it all. And when he sold his company in 2014, he could afford it all.

By then, he’d moved from Brazil to Miami, flown thousands of hours in multiple aircraft—including a remarkable cross-country from Brazil to the United States in a helicopter, which he says, “was awesome”—and started another company. What he wanted now was an SIAI Marchetti S.211. Frizzarin says it is a docile trainer, “super-comfortable and super responsive.”

He’d bought property at the Wellington Aero Club, a private airport community outside of West Palm Beach, Florida. It has a 4,000-foot paved runway and houses with hangars on taxiways throughout the expansive neighborhood. His neighbors are as passionate about aviation as he is, and one day one of them landed a Marchetti jet while Frizzarin watched. “I asked him how I could have one of those, and he told me I’d need a thousand hours in jets…well, I had 1,200 by then…so we talked and, well, I bought one.”

And now he has two.

“It’s easy to fly slowly or fly hard. Because of the hydraulics, it’s very easy to control. It has Pratt & Whitney engines, which I wanted because they are like commercial jets. The visibility is great, and the pilot can fly from the front or back. Its top speed is 400 knots; it’s a little underpowered because it was designed to be a trainer. It doesn’t burn a lot of fuel—about 100 gallons per hour. It goes from minus-two Gs to plus-six Gs and can stay inverted for one minute, which is, well, enough.”

The next step, he decided, was to learn to fly formation. But this wasn’t as easy as most things had been for him up until then. First it was hard to find people to train with, and then he and some friends started attending clinics together, taught by former military pilots. “But it was kind of scary. The aircraft are super close to one another. My first flight I thought this is not for me. My second flight I thought well, maybe I can do this. My third flight I was hooked,” he said.

Frizzarin and another friend decided to form a team. He’d launched a new company, Qyon, in 2020, a software technology firm employing artificial intelligence, robots, machine learning, and data applications for corporate management. His office was in his hangar and he was working very hard. The two Marchetti jets teased him. He wanted to fly. The friend and he became Team Qyon AeroSports, with the firm’s logo painted on the jets. “So now it’s a marketing tool; when I’m flying, I’m working,” he said.

Team Qyon AeroSports performs in airshows and will be featured at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this year. Frizzarin’s jet has his pilot team name stenciled on the side. It’s “Gitmo,” a name his friends gave him because he always wants to “get more.” Makes sense to me.

[email protected]

Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

Related Articles

Get the full story

With the power of thousands of pilots, members get access to exclusive content, practical benefits, and fierce advocacy that helps enhance and protect the freedom to fly.

Already a member? Sign in