Class of 2009 – Sean Tucker
The biographical information below was compiled by Alan Renga, Assistant Archivist, for the 2009 International Hall of Fame Gala. For more information on the Museum’s Library and Archives, click here.
He is one of the most talented and famous aerobatic pilots the world has known Sean Tucker. Born in Eagle Rock, California Sean earned his pilots certificate at the very young age of 17 even though he had a fear of flying. He quickly realized the only way to conquer that fear was to attack it head on. So he took an aerobatics course…and soon was performing in air shows. Very quickly Tucker earned a reputation for being a highly gifted performer. Many of his maneuvers are original and have never been performed by another aerobatic pilot. Sean has flown in more than 425 air shows, in front of more than 80 million spectators!
Thirty years ago, Sean’s first aerobatic plane was a Pitt’s Special. Striving to push the edge more than the Pitts could deliver, Sean’s team designed the one of a kind Challenger II which produces more than 400 horsepower, weighs only 1,200 pounds, and is considered the most high-performance aerobatic aircraft in the world. Today, the Challenger II is one of the most recognizable small aircraft in the world. To endure the extreme physical demands of aerobatic display, Sean maintains a rigorous physical training schedule by working-out over 340 days per year in a routine of jogging and weight-lifting on alternating days.
Tucker has received numerous awards and recognitions celebrating his career in aviation. He has been named one of the Living Legends in Aviation, is the recipient of the Crystal Eagle Award, was an inductee at the 2001 USAF Gathering of Eagles, and was named one of the Living Legends of Flight. And in 2008 he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, joining such famous aviators as Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager and Bob Hoover.
Expanding on his love of flying, Tucker created the Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety, a world-class flight training institution dedicated to setting and spreading the standard for aviation safety in aerobatics and aviation at large. The Academy offers a variety of courses including stall/spin recognition and recovery training, aerobatic proficiency training, a low-level aerobatic mentorship program, and formation aerobatic flight training, which can be found no-where else in the world.
Tucker’s self-proclaimed goal is to “share the magic of flight with Team Oracle’s guests by inspiring and thrilling them. I want them to go away saying that the air show was one of the most engaging days of their lives.”
For his incredible enthusiasm for flying and his strong desire to pass this passion on to as many people as possible, the San Diego Air & Space Museum takes great pride in inducting Sean Tucker into its International Aerospace Hall of Fame.