Biplane takes flight over Detroit ahead of air show

Dan Mears
The Detroit News

Downtown Detroit got a preview Wednesday of one of the attractions at this weekend’s Thunder Over Michigan Air Show at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti.

Flying legend Sean D. Tucker flies his Oracle Challenger III over Detroit, Michigan on August 21, 2018.

Sean D. Tucker flew his red aerobatic biplane, the Oracle Challenger III, over the city’s skyline as he continues his final season as a solo performer. He’ll be performing his 13-minute “Sky Dance” during the show, which runs from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and includes the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds among the performers.

Tucker, an honorary U.S. Air Force Thunderbird, U.S. Navy Blue Angel and U.S. Army Golden Knight, has been named one of 25 Living Legends of Flight by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

That’s where the biplane will be on display after this season, at a new exhibit, “We All Fly.”

“I’m going to miss her but what a great home for her to go to,” Tucker said. “She will be there about 30 years, upside down, welcoming 9 millions visitors a year.

“This new exhibit will inspire the next generation of astronauts, pilots, engineers, mechanics, air traffic controllers, airport managers,” he said. “It could not be a better topping on the cake for the most awarding career a guy could have.”

Tucker’s next challenge will be to build a four-ship acrobatic team.

“It’s something I always wanted to do and it’s the perfect time to charge course in a really fun career,” he said. “I always believe in pushing your boundaries and pushing it as far as you can go. I'm pretty good at tumbling, twirling and spinning through the sky but I want to lead a team and really do some sky dancing.”