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.

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

Condon Photo for Episode - Resized


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

Kent Shook Acro 01

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.

Thanks for supporting efforts that bring important and inspiring stories to you!


Yanks v. Planes of Fame Pleadings Tracker

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Updated 25 April 2017 1700 US ET.

For the convenience of those following the litigation over the Chino Airshow (Yanks, et. al. v. Planes of Fame, California Superior Court for the County of San Bernardino, Case No. CIVDS1705434), Airspeed is tracking the pleadings in the case. The plan is to update this page from time to time, workload permitting. (Like flight following through the Chicago Class B, only slightly better).

What, exactly is linked here?  Good question. These are the court documents, as filed in the court. A copy of the court’s docket, as it appeared at the time we downloaded the documents, leads each PDF file so that you can see the context of the documents.  Most of the documents are downloaded directly from the court’s website. Several of the items were sent to us by others and we’ve posted them, having no reason to think that they’re other than true copies of the court records. We might or might not include additional documents received by this means.

There are omissions in the PDF files and those happen for two reasons. (1) Some of the documents don’t show on the docket as being available for download. In those cases, we generally don’t have the document unless someone has provided it to us by other means (such as an e-mail the other day). (2) Some of the documents that do show as being available from the court’s website either appear to be – or are – not very interesting, such a proofs of service and other documents that have more to do with the Kabuki theater of litigation than the actual substance. Make no mistake, we love the Kabuki theater of the court system. The producer is a lawyer, after all. But we know enough to think that non-lawyer readers probably won’t find them interesting and we have, accordingly, omitted them. (Note: We have not reviewed each document that was omitted to determine whether it’s uninteresting. In several cases, we made that call based solely on the title of the document in the docket, e.g., “Amended Proof of Service filed for Planes of Fame Air Museum filed.” We’re guessing that you wouldn’t want to read that, either.)

So here are the pleadings. They’re court documents and part of the public record.  You don’t have to ask Airspeed for permission to do this or that with them. You’re welcome to do whatever is permissible to do with court pleadings.  Knock yourself out.


25 April Update

See the Ex Parte Application for Court Re-Setting Hearing Dates here.

On 24 April, Planes of Fame filed an ex parte application to the court seeking to reset hearing dates for several motions in the case. In the application, PoF is asking the court (without Yanks or the other plaintiffs being involved – that’s what “ex parte” means) to hear three different motions on the same date.  They are:

(1) PoF’s demurer to the complaint (a pleading in which PoF essentially says, “We understand everything in the plaintiffs’ complaint . . . except the ‘therefore’”) set for hearing on 9 May;

(2) PoF’s motion to strike the complaint (a pleading that says that the plaintiff’s complaint, on its face, doesn’t allege the things that it needs to allege to get to the remedy requested); and

(3) PoF’s special motion to strike (what is commonly known as an “anti-SLAPP” motion designed to combat lawsuits that are intended to censor, intimidate, and/or silence opponents by burdening them with the cost and aggravation of a legal defense until they abandon their opposition) set for 13 June.

This is the first time that we’ve seen the anti-SLAPP motion (filed 21 April under California Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16(b)(1), but not previously available on the court’s website), mainly because it’s attached to the 24 April application. Anti-SLAPP motions are usually used in cases that have a more clear-cut free-speech element than we see in the Chino fistfight. In the usual case, a journalist or advocate says this or that about a well-capitalized person or enterprise.  The well-capitalized person or enterprise then sues the journalist or advocate for defamation without much regard for the merits of the suit.  The idea of the suit is to burden the journalist or advocate with the lawsuit and try to discourage the journalist, advocate, or others from criticizing the plaintiff. A good example of a successful use of an anti-SLAPP motion is the case of Dr. Edward Tobinick’s suit against Yale Neurologist and host of The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Dr. Steven Novella. Novella criticized Tobinick’s claims regarding Tobinick’s Alzheimer’s treatments. Tobinick sued and Novella succeeded in fending off the suit with an anti-SLAPP motion.

Although the PoF anti-SLAPP motion alleges that the airshow is protected speech, airshows and similar events are not the usual focus of anti-SLAPP motions and their jurisprudence. Maybe it’s that California court rules require that anti-SLAPP motions be heard within 30 days after filing if possible. Perhaps the idea is to get a hearing on something other than the injunction prior to the dates for the show. Given that the court has slated other motions for hearing on 9 May, PoF argues that the court has room on the docket and must hear the anti-SLAPP motion earlier than the scheduled date (by 19 May in any case). Nevertheless, there’s no guarantee that the hearing would happen before the 6-7 May dates for the 2017 airshow.

Long story short, PoF is asking the court to hear all of PoF’s motions on the same day.  Being that the earliest of the presently-scheduled PoF motions is set to be heard on the second day after the 2017 Chino Airshow wraps, there’s no obvious effect on the 2017 airshow itself from the consolidation. But it might signal thoughts by PoF that it believes that it has a pretty strong case and wants to bring all of the motions together to concentrate firepower in one hearing. Generally speaking, if a party thinks that it’s a little thin on the law, the facts, or both, it makes sense to scatter one’s motions around a little to divide and conquer, or at least fight an effective rear-guard action.  PoF is doing the opposite.

Could the ex parte application mean something else?  Of course. But that’s the view from here in the cheap seats.

Lastly, by all indications that we can see from the docket, the motion on the preliminary injunction is still set for 28 April.


21 April Update

Yanks Docket 2017-04-21

Nothing new to upload today. If I’m reading the docket (reproduced above) correctly, it looks as though the hearing on the injunction was adjourned for a week or longer. The docs themselves are not available and you’re seeing everything that we are without calling the clerk to get an explanation.  We might do that early next week.  In any case, if we had to guess, we’d guess that the parties are huddling to see if there’s a way to settle this out of court (which would be among the results most likely to result in the 2017 airshow happening on schedule). So we’re cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned.


All pleadings through mid-day 17 April 2017 (the whole megillah).


Pleadings after 7 April 2017 through mid-day 17 April 2017


Pleadings filed by Planes of Fame on 7 April in opposition to the injunction.


Final notes:

Neither this post or anything else short a of a formal engagement letter creates a lawyer-client relationship between Steve Tupper or his law firm (on the one hand) and you (on the other).

The materials are provided with no representation, warranty, guaranty, or other promise of any kind and we might or might not update this page. Use these items at your own risk.

Airspeed has dropped maybe $150 with the court in order to download the pleadings.  If you feel like slipping Airspeed some money, you can do it by hitting the “Donate” button on the right-hand side of this page. Any excess received will be squandered on aviation activities and/or donated to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit.