Robert Schneider was born and raised in the California Bay Area where he still lives. After high school he joined the United States Air Force and trained as a C5-A aircraft mechanic after being selected as a part of a newly formed unit called “Dedicated Crew Chief”. Rob flew multiple missions during his tour of duty on his assigned aircraft performing pre, thru and post flight duties, repairs and servicing.
He spent 2 years at Dover AFB, Delaware flying missions to destinations across the Atlantic and 2 years at Travis AFB, California flying missions to countries across the Pacific. Rob skills and attention for details resulted in his plane and crew being selected numerous times to appear at military and civilian air shows.
In his spare time at Travis AFB, Rob became involved in Drag Boat Racing with his brother Greg and a “Competition Hydro” drag boat crew. After finishing 4 years in the USAF, he joined the racing crew full time. Later he moved to a “Top Fuel Hydro” team that went on to race a “Top Fuel Dragster”. After starting a family and being more involved in his “day job”, Rob retired from racing but kept in top technical shape.
He worked 15 years for a major production engine rebuilder in Oakland California which led to partnering the ownership of his own automotive machine shop in 1995 located in San Leandro California, where he is principal owner and operator of the business.
Being related to Nino Amarena’s wife, Rob had always been interested in the rocketbelt project over the years he became as familiar with the project as any of Thunderbolt Aerosystems’ engineering staff and was asked by Mr. Amarena to join the technical team as Chief Operating Manager in 2004.