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Charles Tucker

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Charles ( Chuck ) Tucker

Resident of Hollister

Charles ( Chuck ) Tucker was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on Dec. 23 1919 and entered in to eternal rest on April 26 2010 in San Jose, Ca., of natural causes, at the age of 90.

Chuck's passion for aviation began in 1938 when he joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program. His storied aviation career spanned 5 decades. He joined Maj. General Claire L. Chennault and the Flying Tigers during WWII as a P-40 fighter pilot and scored 4 victories in the China Theatre. After returning in 1943 he became a test pilot with the Air Force. In 1946 he separated from the service to pursue flying experimental tests as assistant chief of Northrop's Missiles Division, where he flew F-89 and YB-49 Flying Wing bomber programs. Chuck gained notoriety for his stall and spin tests in the YB-49 Flying Wing as well as the highly experimental X-4 Bantam which he was the first to test fly in Dec. of 1948. His experience in that aircraft inspired him to design the first full-faced shield helmet for which he was awarded a U.S. patent. In 1955 Chuck became an experimental test pilot for Lockheed, working with the XF-104 fighter and T2V projects. He also participated in the National Air Races from 1946-1949. He retired from Lockheed in 1975 as Chief Pilot. Chuck logged over 10,000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft, and was proud to be a founder and Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots as well as a member of the Quiet Birdmen.

When Chuck wasn't in the sky he enjoyed golf, fishing, camping or gold mining with his family. Chuck and his wife Marcella were married 57 years before she passed away in 2006. They resided in Saratoga, Ca. for 20 years where they raised two boys, Chuck Tucker of San Jose and Greg Tucker of Sunnyvale. After retiring, he and Marcella moved to Ridgemark C.C. in Hollister where he spent all but the last few months of his life. He leaves behind his two sons Chuck and Greg, and daughters-in-law, Joanne and Teri, grandson, Jeffrey whom he shared his passion for aviation, brother, Ed, sister-in-law, Raili, and niece, Tiina. Chuck is at peace now and will be greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues. Chuck is now truly flying at a new level. A private family service is pending.
Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 8, 2010
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