How to be a successful air show performer
BY GREG LASLO
TWELVE MINUTES. THAT’S EACH performer’s share of the daily
AirVenture air show.
While that may seem kind of stingy to you, they’re stolen
moments to the pilots themselves. That’s because, let’s face it, they
became air show performers because they like flying air shows.
But in this topsy-turvy segment of aviation, that’s only a small
slice of the job. The rest involves practice, patience, and paying
“Those 12 minutes are mine,” said Team Oracle pilot Sean D.
Tucker. “The rest of the 80 hours are my customer’s.” To understand
what he means—as well as more about this elite, if unusual, gig—we
asked Sean, Michael Goulian, and David Monroe to explain the flying,
business, and tour skills that go along with running a successful act.
The flying part is pretty obvious: To make
it big-time, you need the flying chops. But
that’s a learned skill that comes from consistent, professional training. “The path that
I’ve seen [that] works the best is the competition aerobatic career, taken as far as you
can take it,” Michael said.
Indeed, for many current performers,
at least those who haven’t served in the
military, that’s included national championships and participation in World
Aerobatic Championships, often at the