Tucker To Lead Five-Ship Formation Team

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Sean Tucker, who announced his retirement from solo air show demonstrations earlier this year, let slip a few additional details about his plans for a formation aerobatic team during an interview with AOPA during AirVenture 2017. The acclaimed aerobatic star said he’ll start with a five-ship aerobatic team that he hopes to grow to seven airplanes. Tucker didn’t say what type of aircraft the team would use, but said he was “looking for a Snowbird-like experience.” The Snowbirds are the Royal Canadian Air Force jet demonstration team. The Snowbirds fly nine-ship aerobatic routines in the CT-114 Tutor—a 1960s-era jet trainer. If Tucker’s team does decide to fly a jet, the most likely candidate is the Aero Vodochy L-39 Albatross, which is already used by the Breitling and Patriots private jet demonstration teams.

Extending on the “in your face” style that characterized his solo routines, Tucker wants to keep the formation near show center. “I want it to be slow enough to keep it in their face but powerful enough to have a magnificent formation,” Tucker told AOPA. Aerobatic performances by the Air Force Thunderbirds in the F-16 and by the Navy Blue Angels in the F/A-18 require such high speeds that a significant portion of the show is consumed by getting aircraft reoriented to the crowd after each pass, a pause in the action that Tucker wants to avoid.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this article erronously referred to Tucker's retirement from competitve aerobatics. Tucker is principally known for his solo aerobatic routines at air shows and not for participation in competitive aerobatics.

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