July 29, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Suzanne Asbury-Oliver and Steve Oliver were presented the 2010 Bill Barber Showmanship Award at a ceremony during EAA AirVenture. The husband-and-wife duo has performed skywriting and aerobatic performances for 30 years.
“There is magic in the sky,” said Asbury-Oliver after receiving the award. “When I started skywriting, I had no idea where it might lead. I was a kid. But I fell in love with it because of how happy it made people feel, and that is why I made it my career. It’s been a wonderful career that has given me more friends than anyone deserves and a wonderful partner and husband.”
Oliver said the couple knew Bill Barber as a friend before his death.
“Tonight we are surrounded by the best of the best in the airshow business, who also are friends, and who have selected us to be honored with this award,” he said. “When we look back on our long career, I have to tell you it doesn’t get much better than this.
“I would like to take a moment to clarify a rumor that Bill Barber was a great storyteller—not true. You and I tell stories; Bill Barber painted pictures. What a great man, a mentor. A Renaissance man, a stick-and-rudder man. For those of us who don’t fly today’s ‘High Zuse’ airplanes, who have to depend on energy management, with slow roll rates, we have but to look at Bill’s exhibition flying to see how it was done. His flying style lives on through our and others’ hands. We are humbled by this honor.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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