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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Tucker, Kittinger to Appear at Pre-AirVenture Program at Theater in the Woods
Sean Tucker Jerry Cockrell
Sean Tucker Jerry Cockrell
Joe Kittinger
Joe Kittinger (left), pictured with Felix Baumgartner

July 17, 2013 - AviationSpeakers.com will present its 28th AirVenture kickoff program, "An Evening With Champions," Sunday evening, July 28, at Theater in the Woods.

Featured presenters include aerobatic legend Sean D. Tucker, aviation humorist Dr. Jerry Cockrell, and record-setting high-altitude parachute jumper Col. Joe Kittinger. The pilots have flown more than 56,000 hours collectively. For the third year the program will be emceed by Tye Mortensen, son of Danny Mortensen, who emceed the event for 25 years.

The program gets underway at 7:30 p.m. with Sean D. Tucker, pilot of the highly modified, one-of-a-kind aerobatic biplane sponsored by Oracle. Its revolutionary set of wings uses eight ailerons instead of four and sports a high-performance tail.

Tucker started his flying career as a crop duster in modified Stearman biplanes. In 1975, he began flying competitive aerobatics, soon earning national recognition and title of U.S. National Advanced Aerobatics Champion in 1988. He's flown more than 1,100 performances at 450-plus air shows. Tucker has received nearly 20 prestigious awards, including induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Dr. Jerry Cockrell is an aviation humorist, psychologist, and aviator. A former Boeing 737 captain with 20,000 flying hours, he retired flying a Boeing 747-400 on international routes for a Part 121 carrier. He has a Ph.D. in psychology and education, and has a down-home style with hilarious anecdotes that have charmed, educated, and entertained audiences around the world.

Beginning in 1977, he was an early developer of CRM. Dr. Cockrell is the first person to make aviation safety presentations in all 50 United States, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He gives safety talks at military, aviation, utility, medical, and EMS events.

Col. Joe Kittinger is best known for his historic parachute jump from 102,800 feet in 1960. He made four other stratospheric balloon flights and also flew B-26s, A-26s, and F-4s during three Vietnam combat tours.

Kittinger shot down a MiG before being shot down near Hanoi, and was a POW for 11 months. Commander of the Air Force's famous Triple Nickel (555) F-4 Squadron, he was awarded two Silver Stars, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, 24 Air Medals, the Harmon Trophy, and a host of awards, including the Smithsonian Air & Space Lifetime Achievement in Aviation award.

After 483 combat missions and 29 years in the Air Force, he retired and flew for Rosie O'Grady's Flying Circus for 14 years, including banner towing and skywriting. Kittinger also flew balloons, and was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon in 1984.

After 16,800 hours of flight time in 93 types of aircraft, he barnstormed a 1929 biplane for nine years. On October 14, 2012, Kittinger was capsule communicator for Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos project, which shattered his altitude record set in 1960. Kittinger's autobiography, Come Up and Get Me, chronicles his extraordinary adventures.

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