About Steve Tupper

Stephen Force is the superhero alter ego of mild-mannered tech and aviation lawyer, commercial pilot (glider, with private privileges in ASEL, ASES, AMEL, IA, and DC-3 (SIC) type-rated), and Civil Air Patrol lieutenant colonel Steve Tupper. Steve writes, records, and brings you the inside story about everything that really matters in aviation. He's flown with the USAF Thunderbirds, he's and airshow performer and air boss, and he's one of only five pilots ever to earn a FAST card in the glider category. Follow Steve's ongoing quest to do all that is cool in aviation at www.airspeedonline.com or on Twitter as @StephenForce.

Team Fafner will Fly in the Inaugural IAC Hoover Class

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We’ve been keeping it under wraps for several months, but we just picked up Fafner from the shop at Cumberland Regional and we’re ready for the inaugural season of contests in the IAC’s Bob Hoover Class.

The Bob Hoover class is exclusively for GA aircraft certified under Part 23 with most aerobatic maneuvers prohibited by their AFM/POH. The class honors Bob Hoover, who was known for, among other things, flying aerobatics in airshows in a stock Shrike Commander. Hoovers fly the Primary Known (45 up, one turn spin, half Cuban, loop, acro turn, and slow roll), but are judged as a class separate from Primary.

Like Bob Hoover did for the Commander, we have to take Fafner off his Part 23 airworthiness certificate and put him on an Experimental/Exhibition certificate for the contests. The only actual mod that we made was an inverted fuel/oil system that’s permitted by the IAC rules. We don’t plan to spend much time inverted or without G on the airframe, but keeping the gas and the oil where the engine expects them to be is a good idea, especially if we have to fall out of a maneuver. I don’t mind unusual attitude recoveries, but I like to have the engine available once I’m back right-side-up. The inverted system is STC’ed so, when we want to put Fafner back on a standard certificate, it’s just an inspection. We’ll likely do that this fall after the contest season.

We’re going to have to get to the contests in short hops. With the STC’ed equipment, chutes, and our toothbrushes (and maybe just one toothbrush), we’ll only be able to carry 10 gal of gas. But that’ll be worth it. And the Tomahawk was made for this. It spins nicely and the entire weight and balance envelope is in the Utility category.

Other than that, we just need to get up in the practice area and get the maneuvers worked out. We’ll start up at 8,000 and then work it down to the 1,500 to 4,000 AGL acro box.

Watch for us at the Michigan Aerobatic Open at 3CM on 10 July, the Doug Yost Challenge at KSPW on 7 August, and the Yooper Looper at KSAW on 4 September. We’d fly more contests, but this is the inaugural year for the Hoover, there are very few competitors, and you have to have at least two competitors to fly for place. Based on several excited Zoom calls since January with other Hoovers, we’ll be going head to head with two Piper Archers and one C-172N. There’s no national championship contest for the Hoover Class yet, so no appearance in Salina, at least not as a competitor.


Downwind Dashes and Other Long-Distance Soaring with Tony Condon – Audio Episode Show Notes

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Tony Condon is as an ATP and corporate pilot who also serves as the president of the Kansas Soaring Association, headquartered at Sunflower Gliderport. We sat down and talked about long-distance cross-country soaring.


Gliders – From Hell to Namibia and Back Again with John Harte – Audio Episode Show Notes

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John Harte is the chief instructor at Sandhill Soaring Club in Gregory, Michigan, just a few miles down the road from Hell. (Hell, Michigan, that is.) He’s the guy responsible for the hard left turn into gliders that I took in 2012, including obtaining my glider rating (Part 1 and Part 2), becoming an airshow pilot, and ultimately becoming a glider instructor. He has also flown extensively with FOD, giving him instruction in glider operations and formation flying.

John and I sat down on a recent evening in our respective sequestered locations and talked about gliders, John’s path in aviation, his trips to Bitterwasser to fly above the Kalahari Desert, and airshow operations.


Hangar Flying with Kent Shook – Audio Episode Show Notes

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We’re all sequestered in our homes due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. That’s bad. But it means that a number of the original aviation podcasters are a little more available than they might otherwise be and that’s good.

So I called up Kent Shook of The Pilotcast and we recorded a little more than an hour of hangar flying.  We caught up from a few years of not hanging out much, which was pretty cool.


The Eudaemonic Pie – Audio Episode Show Notes

The Eudaemonic Pie It’s up! My first effort as an audiobook narrator, The Eudaemonic Pie by Thomas A. Bass, is available for purchase through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. You can listen to the entire prologue of the book in the episode here:

This is a story of the very early days of personal computing. It’s the late 1970s in Santa Cruz. Intel has just recently released the CMOS processor – the first “computer on a chip.” The Homebrew Computer Club, just an hour up the road, is putting together the early basis for what became Apple. The air is electric in more ways than one. A band of physicists, artisans, artists, and adventurers decides that the game of roulette can be beaten. Not by reaching out and affecting the game, but by deducing the Newtonian equations that govern the game and then using computers embedded in their shoes to play the game in the computer’s brain at hyperspeed to predict in advance where the ball will land.

To be sure, this is a story of going to Las Vegas to do battle with the casinos. But, much more importantly, this is the story of the democratization of computing and the very birth of the hacker culture. And, even though the book came out more than 30 years ago, it remains astonishingly relevant – you could almost change the names of the computer chips and restaurants in the story and have it read like it came out yesterday. I’m honored that Thomas trusted me with this story. We worked closely to make the audiobook carry the energy and inspiration of the story. Thomas tells me that I managed to do it. I hope that you think so, too.

The read is dedicated to Bill and Barbara Tozier (who have been my spirit animals and guides to ways of thinking about information and people for 15 years) and David Fry, the tech entrepreneur whom I most admire.

Want to catch the spirit of this story and provide an incentive to get more stories like this into audiobook form? Here’s how.

(1) If you’re not already an Audible subscriber, please sign up for a free trial using the URL http://www.audibletrial.com/AIRSPEED. You sign up for a free trial on Audible and pick The Eudaemonic Pie as your first selection. The show gets a few bucks from Audible for your free trial sign-up and the author and the show splits a bounty when you pick our book as your first selection.

(2) If you’re already an Audible subscriber, buy The Eudaemonic Pie just like you would any other audiobook. The show gets a little taste of Audible’s revenues associated with your purchase.

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