This weekend, four intrepid travelers will set off from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) headquarters in Frederick, Md., for the Sun ’N Fun Fly-in and Expo in Lakeland, Fla., in two of the smallest vehicles to take wheel and wing on America’s byways and skyways. It’s AOPA’s Road and Runway Rally, with the grand prize in AOPA’s 2010 Fun To Fly Sweepstakes, a 2010 Remos GX light sport aircraft, “racing” a smart for two car down the Eastern Seaboard. Along the way, the two teams will have to complete a number of challenges.
“We plan to have some fun along the way, but at the end of the day, this rally is about utility,” said Jill Tallman, associate editor of AOPA’s Flight Training magazine and project manager on this year’s Sweepstakes. “Both of these vehicles were designed with short trips in mind, but we’ll show that they’re also great — and efficient – for long trips by two people.”
“We are excited to be a part of the Road and Runway Rally. This is a great opportunity to showcase the fun and functionality of the smart fortwo to pilots, a group we think will be very interested in our cars,” said Rick Bourgoise, director of communications for smart USA.
Joining AOPA editors Ian Twombly and Alyssa Miller will be Wired.com’s Jason Paur and Motor Week television’s Steve Chupnick. The teams will switch midway through the rally, so each has a chance to experience travel in both of the small, fuel-efficient vehicles and share their experiences with their readers and viewers.
Along the way, they’ll make stops in Williamsburg, Va. (Saturday), Wilmington, N.C. (Sunday), South of the Border in South Carolina (Sunday), and St. Augustine, Fla. (Monday), before arriving at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland on Tuesday afternoon, just before the start of the first day’s air show.
“Light sport aircraft are meant to be fun and affordable,” said Tallman. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not very capable aircraft. Smart fortwo cars are meant to be fuel efficient and easy to maneuver in busy city streets. But that doesn’t mean they’re not good highway cruisers. This rally will show that each has capabilities that go well beyond its original mission.”
Follow the teams as they make their way south at AOPA.org/Rally. All four team members will be blogging and tweeting about the experience along the way.