AOPA aims 2009 Sweepstakes at pilots…and non-pilots

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is heading in a completely new direction with its 2009 Let’s Go Flying! sweepstakes.

For the past 18 years, the AOPA Sweepstakes has showcased what you can do to an airplane, as the Association bought and completely refurbished a used aircraft before awarding the end result to the sweepstakes grand prize winner. For 2009, AOPA will showcase what you can do with an airplane.

“Thanks to the generosity of AOPA member Lloyd Huck, who donated a nearly new Cirrus SR22, AOPA will be able to take our Let’s Go Flying! initiative on the road and actually demonstrate both the fun and the usefulness of general aviation,” said Thomas B. Haines, editor-in-chief of AOPA Pilot magazine. “We will take the Sweepstakes plane out on trips across the United States in 2009, showing the wide variety of things you can do with a pilot certificate and the utility provided by a general aviation airplane. Then, of course, when it’s all said and done, we’ll award this pristine 2005 SR22 to one lucky winner early in 2010.”

The technologically advanced, composite, glass-cockpit airplane can cover more than 1,000 nautical miles at a stretch, reach true speeds of more than 180 knots and an altitude of 17,500 feet, Haines pointed out. Like every Cirrus, it has an airframe parachute, and this one also includes a TKS anti-icing system for an extra level of safety, he said.

“Its deluxe leather interior makes riding in the Let’s Go Flying! SR22 feel like a luxury sports car,” he added.

This year’s sweepstakes has been made possible, in large part, by the generosity of Lloyd Huck, a philanthropist and long-time member of AOPA as well as a member of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s Board of Visitors, Haines pointed out. Huck served as a flight instructor and Army Air Corps B-29 pilot during World War II.

The AOPA Let’s Go Flying! Sweepstakes is open to everyone, not just pilots, Haines stated. “Anyone who joins or renews membership in AOPA during 2009 is automatically entered,” he said. “We are really excited about this new direction for the Sweepstakes. It will allow us, for the first time, to reach out beyond the pilot community and get non-pilots excited about flying, as well.”

Rules, eligibility requirements, and methods of entry are available at www.aopa.org/sweeps/officialrules.html.

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