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Sean Tucker to retire

Airshow pilot Sean D. Tucker plans to retire from solo aerobatic performances at the end of next season, according to published reports.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

Tucker, 65, has been performing for 40 years and logged 26,000 flying hours—including two more takeoffs than landings. He’s twice bailed out of stricken biplanes after mechanical malfunctions made them uncontrollable and parachuted to safety.

In an interview with the Dayton Daily News in advance of an airshow there, Tucker said his red Oracle Challenger III biplane will go on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum following the 2018 season, and he’ll shift to a less physically punishing form of airshow flying. Tucker’s solo routines impose brutal positive and negative gravitational forces, and Tucker has done his best to counteract them through rigorous physical training. He’s reportedly planning to form a formation aerobatic team and continue flying on the airshow circuit with it.

Tucker lives in Salinas, California, and performs at about 18 airshow venues a year.

He’s the recipient of AOPA’s 2017 R.A. “Bob” Hoover Trophy, and the late, legendary aviator was one of Tucker’s airshow mentors and a close friend.

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
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