OSHKOSH, Wis. — Hall of Fame aerobatic pilot Sean D. Tucker is beginning to settle in as the new chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Young Eagles program.
Tucker, who was introduced as chairman last month at EAA’s AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is an active participant in Young Eagles, which has provided free introductory flights to more than 1.8 million youth ages 8-17 since 1992.
“I love sharing the magic of flight,” said Tucker, whose skills earned him induction to the International Council of Air Shows Hall of Fame in 2007. “Once a person leaves the ground, it changes them profoundly. It’s uplifting, inspiring and empowering.”
Tucker plans on interacting with Young Eagles and with EAA-volunteer pilots and ground crew at each of his airshow performance sites in the coming months. “This is my second full-time job; that’s how committed I am to Young Eagles,” he said.
The program’s success is due to its simplicity, as well as the more than 45,000 pilots who have flown young people. Prior to each flight, a pilot explains to a young person how an airplane works and how pilots prepare to fly safely. That is followed by a 15- to 20-minute flight that shows the joy and possibilities in flight.
“Thousands of young people have discovered a passion for aviation because of that first Young Eagles flight,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA Chairman of the Board. “Sean’s enthusiasm for flying — especially given his background of learning to fly aerobatics to overcome fears he had as a young pilot — are an outstanding example of how young people can discover and achieve beyond what they can imagine.”
Along with the initial Young Eagles flight, EAA supplies follow-up information that allows young people to explore the world of flight further, and even earn future flight training and experiences at little or no cost.
Tucker joins other aviation personalities who have served as Young Eagles chairmen, including Academy Award-winning actor Cliff Robertson (1992-94), Gen. Chuck Yeager (1995-2003), actor Harrison Ford (2004-2009), and Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles of the US Airways “Miracle on the Hudson” flight (2009-2013).