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Sean D. Tucker Takes 10-Year-Old on Inverted Flight

By Ti Windisch

July 28, 2017 - Young Eagles Chairman and legendary air show pilot Sean D. Tucker took Hakon Heggland, a 10-year-old Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, resident, on his first aerobatic flight on Friday, July 28, as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of Young Eagles during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017.

Hakon seemed excited before Sean arrived, but that was nothing compared to how excited he was when the pair of them landed. Early on Sean was flying, but while the EXTRA 300 was cruising straight and steady, Hakon turned around to see Sean’s hands off the controls.

“He did his own roll and his own loop,” Sean said. “He just loved the whole experience.”

While a loop can be accomplished while pulling just 3 or 4g's of force, Hakon was a little excited during his, and he ended up pulling over 6. He handled the EXTRA well, according to Sean.

Hakon’s wealth of knowledge is what earned him the flight with Sean. He e-mailed the air show legend asking for a ride, and Sean asked him for an essay explaining some aerobatic maneuvers and what the flight would mean to him.

“First of all, you are my favorite aerobatic pilot,” Hakon wrote. “And second, it will likely start a long passion with aerobatics. I have long been interested in planes and flying them, but it would be awesome to go past 45 degrees of bank …. I am currently into radio-controlled planes until I can find a full-scale to fly. I read a lot of aviation books, like history, aerodynamics, and even flight manuals from my uncle, and I show no signs of slowing down.”

Hakon’s reply greatly impressed Sean, who knew he had to do something special for Hakon.

Flying with Sean D. Tucker itself was a thrilling moment, but the experience got even better when Hakon got in the air. Sean let the Blue Angels know about the special AirVenture flight, and Blue Angels 5 and 6 agreed to tag along. When Sean asked Hakon to look over his shoulder, he couldn’t believe he saw some Blue Angels alongside the EXTRA.

“I saw two F-18s flying right next to me, and the pilots were waving at me!” Hakon said.

Hakon told the crowd around him after he and Sean arrived back at the hangar that he wants to fly aerobatics and be an aeronautical engineer when he grows up. Before he got over the incredible ride he just went on, Hakon let everybody know how he was feeling succinctly.

“It was incredible, that’s what I’ll say.”

“He’s a very impressive young man, very passionate,” Sean said. “Obviously, he has some parents that really empower him to be who he wants to be. And then to be involved in this community, he’s going to take ownership of this EAA, he’s going to go to the museum.”
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