Mac ‘Serge’ Tucker, author of Fighter Pilot: Mis-Adventures Beyond the Sound Barrier with an Australian Top Gun, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |July 25, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Mac ‘Serge’ Tucker

author of Fighter Pilot: Mis-Adventures Beyond the Sound Barrier with an Australian Top Gun

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Richmond Victoria – home of the mighty Tigers football club which I have zealously barracked for since my Great Uncle played for them…which is about the last time they won a Grand Final. I was raised largely in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in the ambitiously named suburb of Mount Waverley which sits at the hypoxic height of 130m above sea level. I attended Caulfield Grammar School which is a private, knicker bocker wearing, all boys school that set me up well for the guys only world of Fighter Flying.

2.  What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

Luke Skywalker at 12 because I was sure the Force was strong in me and if I stared at my pen long enough I could make it lift off the desk.

At eighteen I was learning to fly a ‘bugsmasher’ and just wanted to trade in the propeller aircraft for a jet aircraft in order to be a Fighter Pilot.

At 30 I was a Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force and teaching guys how to fly the F-18 Hornet – all I wanted then was to start acting like I was 30.

3.  What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

I believed that our system of government, as well as its strong arm aka the military, were noble and that wars were an honourable thing that inspired men to achieve great things for the betterment of the planet. I now believe that our society has become so individualistic that the people have largely disengaged from the democratic/political process, allowing ‘the house of the people’ to be filled by hollowmen with giant fists up the arse controlling their mouths who are able to wage war for immoral purposes.

4. What were three big events – in the family circle or on the world stage or in your reading life, for example – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced you in your career path?

I attended the East Sale airshow in the mid‘80s and met an F-18 pilot Ross Fox who inspired me to enter the military and fly jets. Thirteen years later, Australia’s involvement in East Timor would open my eyes and cause me to lose my naive blind faith in our system of government as well as the military that it supposedly commands. Meeting my wife Mezza gave me the strength I needed to leave the airlines and pursue a life of professional passion vice pain.

5. Considering the innumerable electronic media avenues open to you – blogs, online newspapers, TV, radio, etc – why have you chosen to write a book? aren’t they obsolete?

I wanted to share the realities of fighter flying with people as well as recognise a bunch of special people who I worked with over the years – a book seemed the best way to do this. It was also far more collaborative than writing a blog and I got to work with some really great people at Allen & Unwin along the way who taught me how to use F bombs and C bombs properly as well as how to tell a joke.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

Fighter Pilot: Mis-Adventures beyond the sound barrier with an Australian Top Gun is a tongue in cheek expose of fighter flying that provides readers with a behind the scenes view of life in the fighter force. It is also a story about a little boy who wanted to fly jet planes and did so – going on to achieve some great things along the way. It is a mix of serious tales of death and ridiculously stupid stories that probably should have resulted in death with enough in depth descriptions of fighter tactics to hopefully even interest my Grand Mother.

(BBGuru: publisher’s blurb – Sit down and strap yourself in for an exhilarating ride to the sound barrier and beyond with a real life Topgun!

Mac Tucker, or ‘Serge’ to use his callsign name, is one of an elite group of men trained to fly F-18 jets. Now, for the first time, Serge takes you behind the scenes of the fighter pilot world to reveal what it’s really like.

Find out how it feels to be shot at by SAS snipers, to be lost in a $50 million jet over Northern Australia with nothing but car lights to guide you home, to rupture your sinuses while flying, to inadvertently bomb a yacht and to face death on an almost daily basis. Relive the adventures of a real-life Top Gun and find out what it takes to become part of this elite force.

From the Pentagon to the South China Sea, the deserts of Australia to the wars of the Middle East, this book is as action-packed as it is entertaining.

Sit back and strap yourself in for an exhilarating ride to the sound barrier and beyond with Mac Tucker, an Australian fighter pilot and real life Top Gun.

Click here to buy Fighter Pilot from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

7. If your work could change one thing in this world – what would it be?

That military conflict is neither something to be proud of nor something to be entered into without serious cause. Killing people is not something to be politicised, spin doctored neither showcased nor socialised by the media – it is something to be abhorred by.

8. Whom do you most admire and why?

I admire many men who live and have lived. Noah is one of my heroes because I despise group think – he and his family were the only people in the world to think the way they did.

9. Many people set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I am hoping to at least sell one copy of my book (thanks Grandma). I am also working on a project at the moment to fly around Australia from pub to pub in an aircraft run on used fish and chip oil – my goal is to live through that one.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Just grow some and start – I spent years worrying about whether I could write…for what? I still can’t! And don’t ever send a manuscript to a crazy mate who is an author…he just might forward it on to the publisher 😮

Serge, thank you for playing.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

Follow John: Twitter Website


  • Nathan Alsop

    September 11, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    An epic biography of Serg’s achievements, and a testament to the character of this modern day hero. This book had me gripping to the stick of the hornet and swilling tequila sunrises with lads as they enjoy their time away from their dangerous day job. I could not put this book down, and I highly recommend it for everyone. Especially the avid aviator:)
    Thanks Again Mac.

  • Antoine Exhuperay

    June 22, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Well Mac (Serge) Tucker that’s a nice pseudonym. Clever play on mach-tuck, mach-surge… I wonder who you really are?

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