Gene Soucy

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Gene Soucy signing autographs at the Daytona Skyfest

Gene Soucy is an American aerobatics pilot. The son of 2 pilots, he would wash airplanes at a local airport in exchange for flight time while growing up in Kentucky.[1] He soloed in a glider at age 14, and in a regular airplane at 16.

Soucy began flying professionally in airshows in 1968, and in 1972 qualified for a place on the U.S. aerobatics team. That year he was the youngest competitor flying at the World championships in England.[2] He placed 6th overall, and contributed to the U.S. team winning the World championship for the first time.

Eagles Aerobatic Team[edit]

In 1971, he partnered with Charlie Hillard and Tom Poberezny to form the Red Devils Aerobatic Team, flying the Pitts Special. In 1979, aircraft designer Frank Christensen invited the team to test fly a new aerobatic aircraft he had designed: the Christen Eagle. The Devils were so impressed that they switched their team aircraft to the Eagle, and renamed the Red Devils to the Eagles Aerobatic Team,[3] with Hillard as the lead pilot. The Eagles Aerobatic Team would fly together for more than 25 years, and 1000 performances, setting a record for the longest running aerobatic team with the same members.[4]

Other acts[edit]

Gene Soucy in the cockpit of his Showcat

During his career with the Eagles, Soucy began to develop a new aircraft to fly in airshows. He had a Grumman Ag Cat cropduster modified for a Wing walking act, and named the aircraft the Showcat. His partner and girlfriend Teresa Stokes performs as the wing walker while Soucy takes the Showcat through various aerobatic maneuvers.[1][2] The Showcat is also configured with pyrotechnics, used as part of a nighttime aerobatic show. After the Eagles team disbanded in 1995, Soucy began performing solo aerobatic in an Extra 300S, in addition to his Showcat performances.

Personal life[edit]

In 2002, he began to show signs of kidney disease, and in 2003 underwent a kidney transplant. Teresa Stokes was the donor, after Soucy's siblings proved to not be able to donate.[5] He was back flying at airshows 3 months after the operation.

Soucy has also flown as a stunt pilot for several motion pictures and TV movies. His credits include Aces: Iron Eagle III, where he flew with Charlie Hillard, and The Pancho Barnes Story.[6]

Soucy has 2 daughters, and currently lives in Houston, Texas. In addition to his airshow performances, he is a pilot with Northwest Airlines.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Lystra, Tony (2007-04-07). "Air Show Pilot Has Attitude at Altitude". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Air Show Performers - Gene Soucy". Experimental Aircraft Association. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Christen Eagle". Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Charlie Hillard, Air Show Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 11, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Airshow pilot back in the skies after kidney transplant operation". University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Gene Soucy Filmography". New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2008. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]