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‘Living legend’ Sean Tucker to attend Gold Coast airshow

written by Adam Thorn | August 14, 2023

Aviation ‘living legend’ Sean Tucker is set to attend the Pacific Airshow at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast this weekend.

The Californian native began his career as a crop duster but rose to become one of the world’s most famed aerobatic pilots.

He’s been inducted into the famed “Living Legends of Aviation” group that includes aerospace figures such as John Travolta, Buzz Aldrin and Tom Cruise.

Pacific Airshow Gold Coast Director, Kevin Elliott, said the event is “beyond honoured” to have Tucker as an ambassador for the show.


“His extraordinary career as an aerobatic performer can only be matched by his dedication to uplifting the aviation community, making him an inspiring figure for aspiring aviators, enthusiasts and everyday joe’s,” he said.

Alongside his personal accolades, Tucker is also known for launching the Every Kid Can Fly program in 2014 with his son Eric, which later transformed into the Bob Hoover Academy in honour of his mentor. Robert A. ‘Bob’ Hoover

“The Bob Hoover Academy is a not-for-profit organisation that provides flight training and educational opportunities to underserved youth in the community surrounding Salinas, California,” said the airshow in a statement.

“Partnering with the Monterey County Office of Education, the academy has become an approved graduation path for high school students in the county, offering them a chance to work toward a private pilot certificate through flight training and ground school.

“Sean’s impact on the aviation industry goes beyond his sky dancing skills. His legacy includes the donation of his Oracle Challenger III biplane to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, where it now hangs at the entrance of the Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery, inspiring visitors to pursue their aviation dreams.”

The Gold Coast Pacific Airshow is being created by the team behind the Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California, which attracts three million visitors.

Organisers hope that the event, which features air power assets from both the RAAF and the US Air Force, will deepen the bonds between the two partner nations while stimulating interest among attendees to consider a career in the Australian Defence Force.

“We are bringing this event to Australia at the ideal time to support the ADF’s current recruiting efforts,” said Elliott previously.

“Furthermore, a successful inaugural Pacific Airshow will only strengthen the attraction to like-minded partner forces from the region and around the world.

“Our team has committed to making Pacific Airshow the largest annual event on the Gold Coast, providing a highly visible platform for demonstrating the strength of alliances, partnerships, and hosting foreign dignitaries.”

The RAAF F/A 18F Super Hornet, RAAF C-17A Globemaster III, and the RAAF C130 Hercules will be on display.

The event is also scheduled to feature a display of the Air Force Roulettes, the Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic display team specialising in manoeuvred flying at low altitudes.

Of those capabilities from the United States Air Force, attendees will have the opportunity to view the KC-135R Stratotanker Demo Team, US Marine Coprs MV-22B Osprey Demo, C-17A Globemaster III, and C-5M Super Galaxy.

The United States is also scheduled to deploy the US Navy Leap Frog Parachute Demonstration Team.

The Leap Frogs form part of the United States Naval Special Warfare Command, and according to the US Navy is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen and auxiliary personnel.

Launched in 2016, the original Pacific Airshow in California in 2021 included aerial displays by the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force Thunderbirds, Royal Air Force Red Arrows, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Major Events Gold Coast CEO Jan McCormick said previously the event would be a “game changer” for the city.

“I’ve no doubt that now the 2023 dates are announced, the media and marketing exposure across Australia is sure to result in strong accommodation bookings giving our tourism sector a welcome boost through the traditionally quieter August period. Importantly, hosting this spectacular airshow well and truly cements our city’s reputation as a world-class events destination,” said McCormick.

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