NBAA Honors Aviation Legend Sean Tucker with Humanitarian Award at NBAA-BACE

Aviation legend and virtuoso air show performer, Sean D. Tucker, who is best known for his airshow performances in the Oracle Challenger. Photo courtesy NBAAThe National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) on Sept. 25 announced that aviation legend and air show performer Sean D. Tucker has been named the 2018 recipient of the Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership.

The award was presented during the Oct. 16 Day 1 Keynote at NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which ran Oct. 16-18 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

The award recognizes Tucker and the Bob Hoover Academy, which Tucker co-founded in 2016, to inspire underprivileged youth through exposure to aviation.

“We are honored to recognize Sean Tucker for his humanitarian efforts to help underprivileged youth through his work with The Bob Hoover Academy,” said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO. “Through his many aviation and humanitarian efforts, Sean has long established himself as a proven leader whose positive attitude encourages others to pursue their passions.”

The Salinas, Calif.-based Bob Hoover Academy, which Tucker co-founded with his son Eric, is a non-profit corporation that seeks to inspire at-risk and underserved teens to engage in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education and learn to fly. Students earn admission into the Hoover Academy flight training program by completing its extensive ground training curriculum. They work toward a solo flight, and along the way learn to become accountable to themselves and their teammates.

Originally named “Every Kid Can Fly,” the Tuckers approached long-time friend and aviation legend Bob Hoover shortly before his passing in 2016, and asked if the program could be renamed after him. Hoover was an air show pilot, U. S. Air Force test pilot and fighter pilot. Known as the “pilot’s pilot,” Hoover revolutionized modern aerobatic flying and has been referred to in many aviation circles as one of the greatest pilots ever to have lived.

Learn more about the Bob Hoover Academy at their website at

Tucker began his air show performance career in the mid-1970s, and has won numerous aerobatic competitions, having flown more than 1,275 performances at more than 525 airshows worldwide before more than 135 million fans. He has logged more than 20,000 hours flying time, which is equivalent to flying 24 hours a day for more than two years.

Created in 2006, NBAA’s Al Ueltschi Award for Humanitarian Leadership is named for Albert L. Ueltschi, who has been widely recognized for his lifetime of dedication to philanthropic causes, most notably in the development of the international non-profit organization ORBIS, which is dedicated to preventing blindness.

Past recipients of the award include: participants in the Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift; the Veterans Airlift Command; Corporate Angel Network; those involved in relief efforts following the Haiti earthquake, and hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate; FedEx Founder, Chairman, President and CEO Fred Smith and ORBIS. Learn more about the award at

NBAA-BACE is business aviation’s most important annual event, where participants have an unequaled opportunity to view the latest business aircraft, products, technology, and services the industry offers. Held this year at the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando Executive Airport, the event also offers a premier networking venue and dozens of educational sessions.

Learn more about NBAA-BACE at


Amphibious Club Forming in the San Francisco Bay Area

Two San Francisco Bay area pilots are looking for two or more partners to form an amphibious flying club. The goal is to first build, then fly a Searey, a two-place kit plane. 

Curt Taylor, a recently retired Boeing 777 captain and Bruno Martin, a software engineer and flight instructor are very excited about the prospect of landing on the water, on purpose! The project is estimated to cost about $120,000, which includes the kit, a Rotax 914 turbo-charged engine, and a glass instrument panel sufficient for IFR flight.  The plane will be built with the help of EAA Chapter 20 at San Carlos Airport, and should take 9-12 months.  Potential partners would not necessarily have to take part in the building as there are a number of EAA members who will be volunteering to assist in the build.

Progressive Aerodyne in Tavares, FL, who also makes an LSA factory-built version, produces the Searey. They have shipped more than 600 Seareys worldwide.  “The beauty of the Searey is that it’s easy to build with it’s carbon fiber hull and fabric-covered wings and control surfaces” according to Taylor. He says he wouldn’t have the patience to build a metal airplane, which can take years and likes the fact that it mostly bolts together. The Searey was made famous by Australian Michael Smith who flew one around the world, which speaks volumes about the dependability of the Rotax engine!

Taylor and Martin plan to form an LLC for the club, much like they’ve done for the Cessna 182 that they are currently partners in. The build would take place at San Carlos Airport and then most likely be completed and based at the Hayward Airport due to availability of hangars. 

There are many lakes and waterways within easy reach of the Hayward Airport.  Cruise speed is 100 mph, making places like Clear Lake and Lake Berryessa within an hour’s flight. The turbo-charged engine will make high elevation lakes like Lake Tahoe easily accessible. 

They prefer pilots who have at least 500 hours. The factory-approved training would be required. Pilots would have the option of either obtaining the single-engine sea rating which requires a ride with a designated pilot examiner orgetting the sport pilot seaplane privileges that is just a flight instructor endorsement.

If the thought of building and flying an amphibious airplane appeals to you, contact Curt Taylor at  


Upcoming Events at EAA 

EAA Spirit Newsletter

Thanks for checking out the EAA Spirit newsletter! EAA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping members inspired and growing participation in aviation.

As you read, we hope you’ll find a story that inspires you — one that compels you to seek out aviation adventures, again and again. Because no matter your level of interest, we’re here to help you explore your passion. So, do you have planes on the brain? Well then, welcome home!

Never forget, you’re what keeps aviation strong. If you’re ready to become a member of the EAA family, we’d love to have you!

Join Today
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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is filled with nonstop action and activities throughout the day, but it doesn’t stop there. Once the sun sets, the fun heats up with a concert, fireworks, Twilight Flight Fest, and a balloon glow. Watch video →

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Schweiss Doors Has Class 

Bifold Garage Door from Schweiss Doors Has the Class to Match Cars Kept Inside

As a 30-year pilot in the captain’s seat for Continental and United Airlines, Kirk Simonds has been a part of many successful landings. In retirement, his landing spot is in The Woodlands, Texas, about 30 miles northwest of Houston.

Simonds hired the services of Vanderwal Architects and contractors Harry Hammond and Brett Chamberlain to execute a complete remodel of his garage, which ended up with a Schweiss Doors 18-foot by seven-foot bifold liftstrap door. It’s equipped with an automatic latch system and remote opener. He can operate the door with his backup generator in the event of a power outage.

The backup generator nearly became the main source of power. The door was installed just before Hurricane Harvey started on its $200 billion wave of destruction when the eye passed over Rockport and Houston in Aug. 2017. In nearby Spring, Texas, cars were floating and streets were flooded more than four feet high.

“The water level came within six inches of entering the house,” Simonds said. “We had 47 inches of rain and 25-30-mph winds during that event. We got the door installed the night before the hurricane hit, so timing couldn’t have been any better. We’ve told neighbors that if there ever was another hurricane here, they are welcome to come and stay in our garage!

“I believe, initially, I found out about Schweiss through an Internet search for a bifold door. A lot of the examples that were illustrated there, I’d say 70 percent of them were labeled as Schweiss Doors. I am highly impressed with the Schweiss Doors, we did not do any further searching and got the specifications and price on the door.

”Having three vehicles and space for a two-car garage, Simonds decided to make the roofline higher on one side to facilitate a lift and make it a three-car garage.

“What I like best about my door is the mechanical operation,” he says. “It’s amazing and very well built. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s an 11. I like to watch it go up and down, it’s very impressive, and the structural integrity is just overwhelming. It surpassed my expectations. That is one heck of a door.”

Simonds, along with Hammond and Chamberlain agreed the door installation went well despite some challenges.

“Roy Weisinger was fantastic and chosen as our number one recommended installer from Schweiss Doors,” Simonds said.

“He was probably the easiest to work with and the best installer I’ve had in 45 years of construction,” added Hammond.

Simonds says it was great working with Jeremy and Brent at Schweiss Doors, the duo that kept him informed on delivery times. Simonds added the bifold door arrived in good condition and on schedule.

Schweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doorsDoors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doorsSchweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. For more information, visit . 

Kirk Simonds of The Woodlands, Texas did a complete renovation from the slab up on his garage. Attached to the garage is an 18-foot by seven-foot Schweiss Doors bifold liftstrap door. The door is equipped with an automatic latch system and remote opener.


New Sling TSI

If you missed AirVenture 2018, you missed the debut of the first-in-the-world Sling TSi.  It was hands-down the hit of the show and the TSi has already garnered industry accolades including the “Best New Sport Plane of 2018” awarded by
But don’t fret.  This new Sling lives with us here in Torrance, California so now you have another great reason to come visit us in sunny Southern California to take a demo flight in this amazing 155-knot + speedster! 
According to Matthew Toddun: “When my dad, Wayne Toddun, decided to purchase a new Sling aircraft for us to learn to how to fly, he went for the very best - the brand new Sling TSi!  When he decided on the build assist program he wanted the best assistance that we could get. That is when our life-changing opportunity came about: to travel to South Africa to build the first conforming Sling TSi.  We spent a little over two weeks working side-by-side with the experienced factory crew: learning the ins and outs of our new plane, and assembling it piece by piece. The result - the sleek yet aggressive Sling TSi that was revealed at Oshkosh 2018!”
Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the complete story!
Life is grand in Carson City, NV at the Sport Aviation Center!
Paul Hamilton says: “This has been a great year for flight training in the Sling. We have had a number of Sport Pilots go through the complete course from start to finish and successfully take their check ride.  
We are also teaching private pilots in the Sling LSA and now we have three successful Private pilot training and checkrides in the Sling.  Additionally, two CFI long-expired certificates were reinstated with Sport Pilot CFI checkrides per 61.427. The Sling has been a reliable and tough workhorse and everybody loves how it flies up in the mountains.”  Check us out at: 
Midwest SkySports Builds Custom Sling Panels!
One of the first things people look at when they see an airplane is the panel. The complicated layouts and wiring make it very hard for the average builder to tackle on their own. This is the one area where it pays to let an expert help.
Midwest Sky Sports specializes in Sling panels and avionics. They can design and build a custom laser etched panel that will finish your Sling off with style. Their 95% plug-n-play system includes the panel and a wiring harness that integrates the entire aircraft electrical system into one nicely bundled harness ready to lay into your airplane.
Give Midwest a call to find out how they can help build a panel to be proud of. 810-356-3447 or visit us online at:
The Sling Flying Club in Torrance, California is looking for a couple of great instructors.  We are about to grow so if you think you have what it takes as an excellent teacher with super people skills, we want to talk with you!
So give us a call: 424.241.0491


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