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EAA HQ Welcomes Sean D. Tucker

Megastar pilot honored to lead Young Eagles

October 10, 2013 - Two months ago, Sean D. Tucker was in Oshkosh doing what he does best: performing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (his 21st in a row) in his Oracle Challenger III biplane. On Thursday he was back in Wisconsin, hard at work on what he calls his second full-time job: chairman of the EAA Young Eagles program.

"The opportunity to become the national chairperson of Young Eagles is probably the greatest opportunity I will ever have in my flying career," he said. "It's the highest honor I've ever received." Tucker's long list of honors includes the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Living Legend of Aviation, ICAS Hall of Fame, and countless others.

"It's humbling to be chosen by the EAA membership as its spokesman and leader," he said. "But the real heroes of the Young Eagles program are the volunteer pilots and grounds crews, the EAA chapters that allowed the program to fly more than 1.8 million kids."

Tucker met Thursday with EAA staff to brainstorm ideas and work out an agenda for the coming year and beyond. Among the EAA staff members were Brian O'Lena, manager of EAA Young Eagles and Youth Pathways; Rick Larsen, vice president of marketing; Michelle Kunes, Young Eagles program administrator; and others. Also here was Suzanne Fedoruk Herrick, of Fedoruk and Associates, Minneapolis.

"I'm here to do my homework and ensure that I can do a good job and be successful," he said. "This is a big job, a big responsibility."

Tucker is proud to be what he calls the first truly "blue collar" chairman in the program's 20-year history. His stature in the air show flying community provides a unique platform to get the message out about EAA and Young Eagles, enhance the program, and make it even better.

And Tucker has a tremendous opportunity to do this; he flies in front of more than 6 million people annually during his 20-plus performance schedule that stretches from March through the end of October.

Tucker is scheduled to wrap up the season next weekend at the Fort Worth Alliance Air Show in Texas. This week he'll take part in a Young Eagles rally at the Redbird Skyport in San Marcos, Texas.

After the last air show of the season next week, as the airplane goes in for its annual overhaul by the Oracle team, Tucker uses the downtime to "recreate, rest, and restore my passions." One of those passions is mountain climbing, and he has his sights set on summiting the 23,000-foot Andean mountain Aconcagua in Argentina.

Then starting March 1, it's back to training and preparing for the season, which for Tucker opens at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.

"Young Eagles is a great program, and we want to take its story, and the EAA story, to all of America," he said. "I am very fired up and excited about getting to work, screaming from the rooftops about the incredible opportunities kids have through the Young Eagles program.

"I could not ask for a better second full-time job."
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