Tucker (2)

September 2, 2010

For airshow pilot Sean Tucker, luck comes to one most prepared

Airshow performer Sean D. Tucker is eager to share his passion for aviation. “Flying defines every aviator as a human being,” he says. “There’s so many elements to flying”—including overcoming challenges, pushing personal boundaries, and facing fears. “Every time you go flying you get a chance to push those boundaries.”

With more than 1,000 airshow performances under his belt, Tucker has made an art—and a career—of pushing boundaries. He will share stories from his many aviation adventures with attendees at AOPA Aviation Summit Nov. 11 through 13 in Long Beach, Calif.

Tucker will explain why “Luck Comes to the One Most Prepared” in a forum Thursday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. His presentation will include dramatic videos from his aerobatics—including an in-cockpit video of a real-life emergency that struck while Tucker was in an inverted spin. Attendees can find out how Tucker handled that situation, and what they can learn from airshow flying, where the margins are very narrow.

Sean TuckerYou don’t have to be a hall of famer like Tucker to apply the lessons he teaches. “Pilots who fly from A to B can apply some of the rules and disciplines that I have to their everyday flying,” Tucker said. Always prepare, always have an out, and always keep training, he added.

More than 80 million fans have witnessed Tucker’s daring performances, but the airshow pilot wasn’t always so bold a flier. As a new private pilot, Tucker was afraid of stalls, he explained to AOPA President Craig Fuller in an AOPA Live(R) interview at EAA AirVenture. But he took an aerobatics lesson to conquer his fear and fell in love with something that scared him to death. Now the routines he performs in his 400-hp Oracle Challenger biplane inspire crowds, and Tucker is an enthusiastic apostle for facing fears.

Tucker said he looks forward to connecting with other pilots at AOPA Aviation Summit. He’ll be teaching lessons, he said, but he’ll also learn from the people around him. A small number of attendees will get a chance to dine with Tucker and other aerobatic performers at a Thursday night dine-around; register for Summit and the dine-around online.

“It gives us an incredible amount of joy to have the opportunity to fly,” he said. “We realize what a privilege it is. And truly, it’s like a brotherhood—it’s a family.”—Sarah Brown