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Matt Chapman to Retire From Air Show Flying After 37 Seasons
July 3, 2019 - Top air show pilot and longtime Oshkosh performer Matt Chapman has announced that he will be retiring from air show flying at the end of the 2019 season.
Inspired to fly aerobatics at the age of 16 in England, Matt Chapman took his first aerobatic ride with his hero, Neil Williams, in a Bücker Jungmann. Soon after, Matt moved back to the United States and started flight training, still with the dream of one day performing in air shows. Matt started flying air shows in a Pitts that he personally built and then moved onto a Laser that he also constructed. The 1990s were great to Matt, with him introducing another new airplane to his routine, the CAP 231EX. The Laser took him to the win in the 1994 IAC Championships, and the CAP took Matt to multiple World Aerobatic Championships where he was the top-placing American in 1998, finishing third in the world. In 1996, Matt performed at his first EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in that same blue, green, and white CAP. Thirteen years ago, Matt's relationship with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University began, and ERAU has continued to support him at more than a dozen shows per year since. Starting at AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, a new Extra 330LX replaced Matt's famous CAP 580 and has been seen at shows all across the United States. Matt has also been seen in the skies as part of The 4ce aerobatic team at many shows in North America, and he appeared in the sky over Oshkosh in 2017 with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
Still an avid RC pilot to this day, Matt's CAP 580 was also created as a 1/3-scale model by Great Planes, and many of those models can be seen at AMA clubs across the world.
While he is stepping away from performing in air shows, Matt will continue to fly the Boeing 737-800 for American Airlines, based out the New York City area.
EAA wants to thank Matt for his years of performing at AirVenture Oshkosh and also embodying the Spirit of Aviation at his local chapter, EAA 240, in New Garden, Pennsylvania, and at shows across North America.