Legendary aerobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker, known to thousands for his 40 years of airshow sky-dancing routines, will soon be hanging up his 13-minute solo set for a seven-ship formation routine. Tucker gave AOPA a glimpse into his future during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, before leading his protégé Cameron Jaxheimer in an aerobatic practice routine.
Hovering sideways in the biplane about 20 feet above the runway for the show-ending triple ribbon cut is a fan favorite. However, Tucker cited formation flying’s eloquence as one of the reasons he is shifting away from a solo show that has included nearly 1,300 performances, an estimated audience of 135 million, and more than four decades of competitive flying.
“I’m absolutely looking for a Snowbird-like experience” he said, referring to the Canadian demonstration team that won the hearts of AirVenture airshow attendees in 2016 during a jet aircraft performance above Wittman Regional Airport.
“I want it to be slow enough to keep it in their face but powerful enough to have a magnificent formation” experience for crowds gazing into the sky.
The energetic Tucker kept most of the details close to his chest but revealed that the new venture would start with a five-ship combination, and he ultimately would work the routine into the seven-ship spectacle.
He is the recipient of AOPA’s 2017 R.A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy, the founder of the nonprofit Bob Hoover Academy for at-risk California high school students, and the chairman of the EAA Young Eagles program.
Tucker hoped his team-approach idea to "share the beautiful joy that we call the sky” would inspire the next generation of aviators to pursue aviation as a career.