NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A pair of air show mainstays are sharing the stage of the skies this weekend: the Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show, which has been taking place for nearly thirty years, and Sean D. Tucker, whose aerobatics have been dazzling spectators worldwide since the mid-1970’s.
Tucker, with his red biplane, the Oracle Challenger III, said despite performing coast to coast, the Rhode Island show holds a special place in his heart.
“I’ve been here 25 years – I’ve only missed two – and it’s such an honor to come back and see my friends that I haven’t seen in a year,” he said. “I’m talking about the fans – the Rhodies themselves! This is one great, big, happy family.”
Tucker is one of a small number of civilian performers who’s been invited to fly with the military demonstration squadrons the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.
“These men and women search for perfection. They always achieve excellence. I am so honored to be a member of that family,” Tucker said Thursday.
Though the Royal Canadian Snowbirds, this year’s air show headliner, had to cancel this week, Tucker is in good company with a long list of performers remaining on the card, including aircraft from the United States Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
Gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and the shows run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. Lawn chairs and cameras are allowed, but no pets, coolers or backpacks. Parking is available for free at the Providence, Warwick and Wickford Junction MBTA commuter rail stations, and trains to Quonset are free. The show itself is also free. A $10 donation is encouraged to benefit Hasbro Children’s Hospital; volunteers will be collecting at entrance gates.
“We are gonna rock it this weekend!” said Tucker.