Aaron Tippin at Sun n Fun


Sun n Fun is a great air show. I’m spending the day wandering the grounds, taking pictures and talking.  When I go to a show, I rarely know what I’m going to write about,  I get there and start looking.  One of the things I like to do is to go up to total strangers and start talking to them.

So I’m out on the warbird line and there is a NICE SNJ there with two guys cleaning it up.   I know how these things work, usually the rich dude that owns the airplane has some of his minions out cleaning it up so he can go and fly a clean airplane later.  Most of the time I’d rather talk to the little guys since they seem to have the better stories.

First you, need to know me.  I’m not really up on who’s detail about who they are, what they did, etc.  We were in the Venetian in Las Vegas some years back and she said “there’s Taylor Swift”, I said WHO?  She started explaining and Taylor was sitting down for an interview and nobody was paying any attention to her.  She had “Tim McGraw” out then and started hitting it big a few months later.  She is great and successful, but hardly an airplane person.  This trip, Betsy is at home and I’m on my own.  I paid for that one later.

So I head to the guy in the B-29 baseball cap that’s cleaning bugs off the cowling of this magnificent SNJ.  He’s in a better position for a few photos and I start talking to him, and he’s telling me everyone is getting on him about the plane being dirty, and he’s scrubbing away.  He asks where I live and I said Tennessee, he said “me too, I’m Aaron Tippin”.  Knock me over with a feather; I should have seen that one coming, where was Betsy when I needed her?

Aaron Tippin, pilot, musician, and all around great guy.  Of course the B-29 cap was from helping the CAF get FIFI flying again.  He has an airstrip in his backyard and several airplanes.  He gets lots of press and he should because he’s an all around good guy and deserves it.

Better than that, when I lived in West Virginia, he came and played the Coal Country Jamboree in downtown Logan about 10 years ago.  I helped ($$$) restore the theatre and sponsored shows.  Most of the people who worked for me went to see him and loved it.  One of my secretaries picked Aaron up at his hotel (the Super 8, finest and only one in town) and took him to a local gym to work out.  She got to do that because her mom happened to be the hotel manager and he needed a ride.   Aaron was the talk of the town for a long time.  Me, I never got to the show, I was out on the road working, I have yet to see him perform live and I’m sure I will someday.

He went back to talking to me and scrubbing bugs and a few minutes later, I excused myself and walked off to find the next person to chat with.  I’ve met Harrison Ford, John Travolta and Gary Sinise all at airshows.  You know, Aaron Tippin was the only one of the bunch working on an airplane and he was cleaning those nasty bugs off of his own airplane and it was a SNJ on top of it.  So in my books Aaron is simply the best.  Fly safe on your way home buddy.

You can contact the author at TNMark@Me.Com.



Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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