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Tucker Flies Young Eagle Volunteer to Say Thanks

EAA Young Eagles pilot Tessa Howard got the ride of her lifetime Friday—a aerobatics flight with Young Eagles Chairman and aerobatics pilot Sean D. Tucker.

By Barbara A. Schmitz

July 24, 2015 - The smile said it all.

Tessa Howard has given 148 Young Eagle flights as an EAA Chapter 289 volunteer. But the Winner, South Dakota resident got a special flight of her own Friday. Young Eagles Chairman and air show pilot Sean D. Tucker gave Howard her first aerobatic flight.

Tucker regularly flies Young Eagles volunteers. “It’s my treat to fly with volunteers who give so much of their time to Young Eagles,” he said. “This is just a thank you.”

After the landing, Tucker said that Howard did awesome, flying loops, barrel rolls, torque rolls, hammerheads and Cuban-Eights. She also flew upside down.

“She did +4 g’s, -2 g’s,” Tucker said. “That’s a good start.”

Howard said the flight was “awesome,” and that she couldn’t wait to tell Young Eagles about her experience.

Which maneuver was her favorite? “All of them,” she said.

Will Howard start aerobatic training? She didn’t rule it out. “I don’t think I’ll be an aerobatic pilot,” she said, “but it would be a good thing to know for upset training.”

Howard said she enjoys giving Young Eagles flights. “For many, it’s their first airplane ride,” she said. “Watching them in the air being so excited is just addicting.”

With a commercial rating and an A&P certificate, Howard has logged more than 400 hours in the sky and flies a Cessna 172. But before Friday she had never done any aerobatics besides some spin training.

“I’ve always been a Sean Tucker fan, particularly since he’s become chairman of Young Eagles,” she says. “His passion for the program just rubs off on you.”

Before the flight, Howard admitted she was excited, and a little nervous, too. Back on the ground, she was happy to report “all was good” and that she was impressed with how sensitive Tucker’s plane was.

Howard’s husband, Dave, has flown 595 youth through the EAA program, and serves as the South Dakota field representative.

“Am I jealous? Yes. But I’m also very excited for her,” Dave said. “What a wonderful and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
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