Story

Showcasing Aerobatic Aviation

Posted on Thu, July 26, 2018
favorite

You know that feeling when you’re on a rollercoaster and your car crests over the hill as you drop? You’re moving fast, and for a second you’re lifted up out of your seat. Now, imagine that feeling--except now you’re in an airplane, and you’re the pilot.

The zero G’s of the infamous outside loop stunt are second nature to Sean D. Tucker, who has flown more than 1,275 performances in his 40+ years as an aerobatic pilot. When Tucker starts in on his outside loop, experiencing negative and zero G forces in quick succession, he merely adjusts his sunglasses and keeps going.

In this video, created for the Smithsonian's TechQuest: Flying Circus program, Aerobatic Champion Sean D. Tucker demonstrates how to perform tricks like a spin, an inside loop, and outside loop in his aircraft.

For the past eight years, Tucker has performed daring tricks like this in his Oracle Challenger III, a bright red, custom-built biplane that combines technology from aerobatic performance airplanes, drag racing and sailing. Now, it’ll become part of the National Air and Space Museum collection.

As part of the new “Thomas W. Haas We All Fly” gallery, opening to the public in 2021, you’ll be able to see Tucker’s Oracle Challenger III on display.  This new gallery--funded through a generous gift from the Thomas W. Haas Foundation--will give visitors an opportunity to explore a variety of people and fields within aviation, such as sport, private, business, humanitarian, and utility flight. Alongside the Oracle Challenger, aircraft such as a Cessna 180, a Gates Lear Jet, and a Cirrus SR22 will be on display.

Dr. Ellen Stofan with Aviator Sean D. Tucker and his Oracle Challenger III biplane.

Dr. Ellen Stofan, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, with aviator Sean D. Tucker. It was auunounced that Tucker will donate his Oracle Challenger III biplane to the Museum at the EEA Airventure Oshkosh fly-in on July 26, 2018. 

Learn more about the National Air and Space Museum’s transformation.