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Sean Tucker Named New EAA Young Eagles Chairman
At EAA’s annual Gathering of Eagles gala on Thursday night, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton announced the new Young Eagles Chairman, aerobatics star Sean D. Tucker. In a hilarious and energetic acceptance speech (Pelton later said he was pretty sure that Tucker actually accepted), Tucker wowed the crowd with his infectious enthusiasm for the role. “Yeah, baby!” were Tucker’s exact words when his selection was announced and that refrain filled the Eagle Hangar throughout the rest of the show. Tucker takes over from Miracle on the Hudson pilots Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, who thanked EAA for the honor of having served in the post the past several years. Tucker is the fifth chair of Young Eagles, following behind the late Cliff Robertson, Gen. Chuck Yeager, Harrison Ford, and Sully and Skiles.
The evening opened with a tribute to Yves “Jetman” Rossy, who spoke with the guests and oversaw the auctioning of a trip to Switzerland for the lucky winner to fly in formation with Rossy, as well as get a ride in a Hawker Hunter jet with Jetman. The package sold for $100,000. In all the auction raised more than $2.4 million dollars, starting with Rossy and culminating in the sale of a custom 640 hp Ford Mustang styled after an Air Force Thunderbird F-16 that went for $398,000.
EAA also welcomed the team from Disney responsible for the new animated film Planes and showed a clip from the exciting movie. EAA will host the world premiere of the film on Friday.
A highlight of the show for many was the surprise appearance of Tony Orlando, who sang “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree,” a perennial favorite and unofficial theme song of POWs having returned from war. A number of high-ranking Vietnam-war veterans were on hand and were honored by EAA, including Gen. Frank Borling, who took the stage with Tony Orlando and tried his hand at “Yellow Ribbon,” joking that it was his one chance at headlining.