AOPA's Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes - Featured Contributors

November 11, 2009

AOPA's Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes Project Updates Photo Gallery Travel Itinerary AOPA Pilot Articles Join or Renew to Win Previous Aircraft Member Benefits Official Rules Contributors Featured Contributors Archive Join or Renew Now


December 6
DC Aerospace

David Chadwick, principal and owner of DC Aerospace, has roots in the aviation industry that stretch down more than 35 years. First as a helicopter pilot and A&P in the U.S. Army and Georgia National Guard, and then as a fixed-wing A&P working with Hawaiian and Zantop Airlines. He received his DER and DAR (designated airworthiness representative) certifications in 1989 and launched his consulting business in 1992.

Chadwick's depth of knowledge with both domestic and international certification extends from supplemental type certificate (STC) and 8110-3 work in the United States to import and export airworthiness certificates and EASA-approved STCs. DC Aerospace holds STCs for terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) on the Bombardier CL600, Gulfstream G-II, and Boeing 727. For our sweepstakes airplane, we tapped Chadwick's expertise for our essential bus approval. Contact the company at 478-953-1322 or visit the Web site.

November 21
Lowrance Avionics

In 1957, Carl Lowrance, an avid fisherman, founded the company that bears his name initially to develop an instrument (sonar) that would help fisherman determine the best fishing spots. The inclusion of transistors in consumer electronics paved the way for Lowrance to introduce its first sonar at a much lower price ($150 vs. $2,000) than other sonar units on the market. This history of producing value continues through the present day. Lowrance branched into aviation with the first handheld GPS with full mapping capability in 1996.

Navico Group was created in September 2006 to extend Lowrance's global reach, with Jens-Thomas Pietralla as chief operating officer, and CEO-elect for when Darrell Lowrance, Carl's son, would step down from heading the company in January 2007. Aviation sales manager Grant Farrell is an active pilot with a new-to-him Yakovlev 52 warbird. With products like the 600c we're giving away in the Cardinal, plus the large-format 2000c, Lowrance continues to offer a value solution for pilots that they can also use on land or sea. Contact Lowrance by calling 800/324-4740, or by visiting the Web site.

November 1
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty

For many pilots, the search for aircraft parts and pilot supplies starts with one short phrase: "Call Spruce." Aircraft Spruce & Specialty still sells, well, spruce, but the vast assortment of products in its 750-page catalog let you know how far this aviation business has come from its roots as a 40-plus-year aircraft materials supplier, led by President Jim Irwin. Based in Corona, California, the company gained an East Coast presence when it purchased the assets of Alexander Aeroplane Company of Griffin, Georgia, in January 1996. The East Coast facility is now on the airport at Peachtree City's Falcon Field.

Though the company doesn't cater exclusively to the homebuilder, you can purchase aircraft kits and plans, and Aircraft Spruce hosts forums for homebuilders and other aircraft owners and pilots on its Web site. Also on the site, a price-match service purports to do everything possible to beat a competitor's price on a product. Call 877/477-7823 or visit the Web site.

October 25
Sporty's Pilot Shop

Back in 1962, Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty's Pilot Shop, sold his first aviation product, a Realtone transistor radio with aviation frequency reception, for $37.95, from the trunk of his car. The company, based in Batavia, Ohio, now sells thousands of aviation, workshop, and leisure items from its 120,000-square-foot facility at the Clermont County Airport—but that's really just the tip of the iceberg.

The phenomenon that is Sporty's also includes Sporty's Academy, the flight school and aviation education development program begun in 1987. It includes Sandy's Farm, a new residential airpark development on the airport, named after Shevers' wife, Sandy. And it includes The Sporty's Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to funding programs that educate young people on the excitement, challenge, and fulfillment of aviation. Sporty's has donated one of its most popular products—yes, a radio—an SP-200 transceiver for this year's sweepstakes winner. Call 800-776-7897 or visit the Web site.

October 11
Honeywell Bendix/King

The list created by Honeywell and the historic aviation companies it has brought under its umbrella over the years reads like a trip through aviation's timeline: Sperry, Garrett, AiResearch, Pioneer, Grimes, Allied Signal - and Bendix and King. In 1929, Bendix Corporation took a new direction, away from automotive brake systems into aviation. The company produced carburetors and magnetos, among other key aircraft components. Alongside this development was that of King Radio, which, true to its name, pioneered aircraft radios. Bendix and King joined forces in the mid-1980s, when the companies were purchased by Allied Signal and combined to form Bendix/King. In 1999, Allied Signal merged with Honeywell, bringing along the legendary Bendix/King general aviation avionics.

Honeywell has placed renewed emphasis on the Bendix/King heritage with announcements this past summer of a new line of primary and multifunction displays for light GA aircraft, the Apex Edge series, which includes the KMD 850 and the KSN 770. We've installed one of Bendix/King's most reliable and enduring products, the KI 525 HSI and KCS 55 remote compass system in your Cardinal. Call 800/601-3099; visit the Web site.

October 4
Power Flow Systems

Power Flow Systems, the brainchild of Robin Thomas, branched out from Laminar Flow Systems, an airplane speed-mod company, in 1997. PFS, of Daytona Beach, Florida, creates tuned exhaust systems for light airplanes, starting with the Cessna 172 with an O-320 engine - a mod that increased power by 23.75 horsepower over airplanes equipped with the stock exhaust.

Now the PFS line includes many singles with Lycoming O-320 and O-360 engines. The exhaust system on the Catch-A-Cardinal is a great example, with stainless-steel components and slip joints for improved durability. The distinctive external exhaust stack comes standard; most systems also can be fitted with the "Short Stack" for a smaller external exhaust profile. The PFS is standard equipment on the Diamond DA40; development continues on systems for the Cessna 177RG and aircraft with larger Continental engines, such as the Beechcraft Bonanza. PFS has shipped more than 3,000 systems to date. Call 386/253-8833 or visit the Web site.

September 27
Micro Aerodynamics

Micro Aerodynamics has focused on doing one thing well: developing vortex generators (VGs) for light aircraft. Founded in 1989 by current company President Charles White, Micro Aerodynamics creates VGs for more than 500 models of general aviation aircraft, from Piper Cubs to cabin-class twins. White, a pilot of more than 50 years, along with Vice President and private pilot Anni Brogan and the company's staff, has operated Micro Aerodynamics from the Anacortes, Washington, airport from the beginning - Brogan is also AOPA's Airport Support Network volunteer for the airport.

The VG kits are developed and flight tested for each model, then manufactured, marketed, sold, and supported by this small company. The VGs, such as the kit installed on the Catch-A-Cardinal, reduce stall speeds and improve controllability, particularly at low speeds because of energized airflow downstream of the VGs on the airframe and control surfaces. Call 800/677-2370 or 360/293-8082, or visit the Web site.

September 20
Skybolt Aeromotive

Launched in 1982 by Ned Bowers, Skybolt Aeromotive, of Leesburg, Florida, has served the aviation and automotive industries for 25 years. Skybolt is well known for its traceable quarter-turn panel and cowl fasteners, which come in 303 stainless steel as well as the company's proprietary Skytanium material. Taking developments in the auto racing industry to the drawing board, Skybolt used the knowledge to construct its unique fasteners and earn three patents on adjustable fasteners that allow one fastener length to adjust to any panel thickness.

The Catch-A-Cardinal uses Skybolt's CLoc quarter-turn fasteners on its cowl, which carry a supplemental type certificate to replace the standard fasteners. In 1995, Skybolt began producing FAA-approved engine cowls from carbon fiber and epoxy resins for several models of Cessna aircraft, but has since sold that portion of the business. The company continues to develop improved fastening systems and maintains a high standard of quality. Call 800/223-1963 or visit the Web site.

September 13
Mayfield Aviation Leather

Rick Mayfield fulfilled a longtime ambition when he obtained his private pilot certificate in 1994. And the first thing he did? He refurbished the interior of the Cessna 172 he had purchased for his training. Using his wife's talents in leather furniture design and manufacturing as a springboard, Mayfield turned his passion for aviation into a thriving business. Mayfield Aviation Leather is the result.

Mayfield understands the ins and outs of a detailed aircraft refurbishment project—he took everything but the wings off a Cessna 210L. He's done the interiors of six aircraft of his own as a hobby, but early on translated it into success: Mayfield sold leather to his first aviation customer in 1995. His association with leather manufacturers has enabled him to develope a "high traffic" aviation leather that complies with all FARs—Mayfield has carved a niche. And the Catch-A-Cardinal benefits from all-new leather, thanks to his company—this is their third AOPA sweepstakes project donation. Call 828/328-3135 or visit the Web site.

September 6
Sound Ex

The SoundEx aircraft soundproofing product line was purchased by Gene Shackelford in May 2004, which was the beginning of SoundEx Products. The product line itself has been around for about nine years; SoundEx Products purchased the line from Avis Industries, of Albany, Missouri. SoundEx is created by a sandwich of several different nonabsorbent foam layers, backed by a silver layer consisting of bubble pack encapsulated in aluminum foil. The products are currently manufactured at SoundEx's facility in Southaven, Mississippi, just outside of Memphis, Tennessee.

SoundEx Products offers 46 different kits for production and homebuilt aircraft. The company graciously donated the soundproofing kit for your Catch-A-Cardinal, with a total kit weight of 13 pounds. For more information, call 888/513-5088 or visit the Web site.

August 30

Janelle Hammer started into the aircraft upholstery business in 1975 at the behest of her husband, Mike. He owned an aviation business in Laredo, Texas, and often contracted with other companies to install interiors in light general aviation airplanes. Janelle, a former home economics teacher, recalls, "He said, 'You sew, you can do this,'" to which she answered that she needed a heavy-duty sewing machine. She got a blank check to buy one, which she still uses today to bind carpet. Janelle worked on interiors in South Texas for 15 years, took a hiatus, and then launched Aerodesigns in 1995 after the family had moved to Fernandina Beach, Florida, and then to Sylvania, Georgia.

Janelle's daughter Lisa joined the company in 2003, fresh from college with a graphic design degree. Lisa handles the design work, quotes, and marketing; the company completes about 30 to 35 airplane interiors each year. The move to Alva, Oklahoma, had its roots several years ago, when Aerodesigns was one of the first to sign onto Vantage Plane Plastics' installer program. The mother-daughter team completed a Cessna 150 for Plane Plastics, and was invited to join forces in earnest earlier this year. Call 580/327-2932 or visit the Web site.

August 23
Vantage Plane Plastics

Vantage Associates, an aerospace interior manufacturer on the west coast, acquired the Plane Plastics division from Kinzie Industries (based at the Alva Municipal Airport since 1951) in November 2000. Plane Plastics opened a new facility at the south end of the airport in February 2005, further expanding its business. Lead by Vice President Scott Brown, Plane Plastics hosts a talented team to direct its growing general aviation product line. Director of Product Development Jim Curtiss was a consultant to the company—and did time at Disney—before coming on board permanently in 2004. Marketing Manager Tyson Tucker has been the point person on the Cardinal project.

For the time being, Plane Plastics offers more than 3,000 FAA/PMA parts, including aftermarket interior parts for Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, and other light GA airplanes. In addition, the company is the OEM interior plastic supplier to the Quartz Mountain Aerospace 11E. For more information, call 866/307-5263, or visit the Web site.

August 16
Precision Avionics & Instruments

The overhauled attitude indicator in your Catch-A-Cardinal is there courtesy of Precision Avionics & Instruments (PAI), a premier avionics repair station in Atlanta, Georgia. Located adjacent to Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport, PAI's facilities emcompass more than 32,000 square feet, and host the repair and overhaul of aircraft instruments and avionics of a wide variety of makes and models.

Founded in 1986, PAI employs 32 bench technicians, with an average 16 years experience. Its on-site engineering department provides advanced services, and the company keeps more than 37,000 items in stock and ready to ship—it had our replacement attitude indicator ready for us in a business day. Call 800/537-2778 or visit the Web site.

August 9
J.P. Instruments

J.P. Instruments began in 1986 in Huntington Beach, California. The first product, the Scanner (still available), was an answer to imprecise engine instrumentation found on light aircraft, and it cycled through exhaust gas temperatures and cylinder head temperatures on a simple LED display. Next came the EDM-500, predecessor to the EDM-700 series, a multi-probe engine data management system, and fuel flow gauges.

J.P Instruments has delved into total engine instrumentation with the EDM-930, installed in the Win-a-Six Piper Cherokee Six (see " A Six to Go," December 2006 Pilot). For the Cardinal's cockpit, we chose the EDM-800, with fuel flow indications, and the corresponding EZ Trends engine analysis software and dedicated data port — making it easy for the winner to keep tabs on the Cardinal's engine health for years to come. Call 800/345-4574 or visit the Web site.

July 26
Flight1 Technologies

Jim Rhoads of Flight1 Technologies leads a hard-working team of developers in producing a variety of flight simulator software for desktop PC applications, including Microsoft Flight Simulator. Recently the company made its first foray into instructional simulation software with the release of the Avidyne Student Simulator, an application that allows students and pilots new to the Avidyne Entegra integrated flight deck to practice procedures on their PCs.

Rhoads' team spends months building the aircraft add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator that have replicated each of the sweepstakes aircraft over the past few years. This year's Catch-A-Cardinal model debuted at Sun 'n Fun with an early version; you can fly the Catch-A-Cardinal at the Big Yellow Tent at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh from July 23 through 29, with a download available. Call 877/727-4568 or visit the Web site.

July 19
L-3 Communications Avionics Systems

L-3 Communications cuts a wide swath as a major defense contractor — but its healthy Avionics Systems division probably interests pilots most. As a leading manufacturer of safety products for general aviation, Avionics Systems is likely best known for its WX-series of spherics (lightning detection) devices — systems like the WX-500 in the Catch-A-Cardinal show you where the bolts are now.

The division also has more plans up its collective sleeves for integrated cockpit systems. SmartDeck weaves together primary and multifunction displays with flight control systems to provide complete situational awareness, while today the company's IRIS enhanced vision system available through supplemental type certificate for Beechcraft King Airs helps pilots see through low-visibility conditions. Call 616/949-6600 or visit the Web site.

July 12
Precision Avionics

Keeping it in the family has been a theme for Precision Avionics since day one. Jackie Black founded Precision Avionics Specialists in 1988 and hung his shingle at Tara Field in Hampton, Georgia, for more than 18 years. And when he sold the business to Scotty Collins in September 2006, he stayed with the company as its avionics manager, putting his depth of experience to use.

Collins also brought on board Black's nephew, Tony, and Frankie Smith, two talented avionics technicians, and his wife, Wendy, keeps everything organized in the office. The whole team at Precision has been instrumental in bringing together the final components of avionics installation and instrument and electrical systems in your Catch-A-Cardinal — they get up early and stay late to get the job done. Call 770/946-8555 or visit the Web site.

July 5
The Vacuum Source The Vac Source

Vacuum system failures long have been the bane of the instrument pilot's existence. The Vac Source, of Bend, Oregon, was founded to develop and manufacture products and educational materials dealing with primary vacuum source failures — its mission? To help pilots safely handle these situations.

The Standby Vacuum System was developed by Precise Flight in 1982; about 19,000 units have been sold over its 25-year production run. With the SVS installed and in the case of a failed primary vacuum pump, the pilot pulls a knob to activate the system. A valve then isolates the primary system and uses the difference between ambient air pressure and manifold air pressure to create enough vacuum to continue driving vacuum instruments. The Vac Source manufactures this system and its variants under license from Precise Flight; the SVS-V provides an extra layer of system redundancy in this year's sweepstakes airplane. The Vac Source also offers warning lights and parts for its systems. Call 541/389-4884 or visit the company's Web site.

June 28
S-Tec Corporation

S-Tec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Meggitt and located in Mineral Wells, Texas, has focused exclusively on autopilots for general aviation since 1978. To date, it has shipped more than 35,000 autopilots to both aircraft manufacturers and to aftermarket customers — like AOPA for our Catch-a-Cardinal sweepstakes airplane.

With a current product line that includes analog, rate-based autopilots and digital flight control systems, there's a suitable S-Tec autopilot for just about every airplane in the stable. Visit S-Tec's Web site or call 800/872-7832.

June 21
Sky-Tec Sky-Tec

Sky-Tec began in 1988 to answer a question in the minds of its founders (Gene Rochester and Tom Williams): Why did general aviation airplanes use 18-pound starters while cars used 8-pound starters? When Les Staples and Gene Chiappe purchased the company in 1995, they continued the innovation. "We are general aviation pilots through and through," says Rich Chiappe, Gene's son, who joined the company in 2002 as director of operations, sales and marketing.

The company originally produced starters for Lycoming engines for the experimental market, then moved into STCs, and then obtained parts manufacturing approval for these starters in 1997. Sky-Tec has developed the line further to encompass starters for Continental and Franklin engines. "We have our goals for starters: to make them perform better, and be lighter and cost efficient." They pretty much have the GA fleet cranked up, and their Flyweight Starter gets the Cardinal's O-360 going. Call 800/476-7896 or visit the Web site.

June 14
Tanis Aircraft Products Tanis Aircraft

Tanis Aircraft Products, of Glenwood, Minnesota, has been in the engine preheat business since 1973, expanding its line to incorporate a variety of products to preserve and protect your engine investment. Peter Tanis, who was a charter pilot at the time, pioneered aircraft preheating as a solution to the cold-start problem he encountered while working in the north central United States.

Tanis recently introduced its latest innovation, the Tanis Engine Dehydrator, which removes up to 95 percent humidity between flights. The company also produces aircraft covers and blankets to help retain heat produced by both the engine (during flight) and the preheater — we used a Tanis prop blanket to protect the new propeller on your Cardinal during its transportation to the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland in April. If it can survive a 10-hour road trip, it will probably stay on in substantial wind conditions. Call 320/634-4772 or visit the Web site.

June 7
Precise Flight Precise Flight

Essentials for safety and performance — that's the foundation upon which Precise Flight, based in Bend, Oregon, was launched in 1980. Since then, the company has developed several well-targeted products for the general aviation market that address specific safety concerns. Two of these innovations are part of our sweepstakes package this year: the PulseLite system and a portable Precise Oxygen system. "Many pilots are out there flying hypoxic and don't know it," says company spokesman Steve Crenshaw (see " Big Gulps: How Not to Become an Oxy-Starved Moron," February Pilot).

In addition, Precise Flight creates SpeedBrakes for several popular singles and its latest foray into improved aircraft lighting, the PreciseLite HID (high-intensity discharge) landing and taxi lights. Visit Precise Flight's Web site or call 800/547-2558.

May 31
Precision Hose Technology

Precision Hose Technology, led since 2002 by Robert Williams, has specialized in aircraft hoses for piston and turbine aircraft for more than 20 years. Precision Hose supplies the general aviation fleet exclusively: "All we do is GA, says Williams, whose team works with maintenance technicians during engine rebuilding or installation to produce hoses and fittings to the customer's exact specs — and the company delivers within just a couple of working days, to which we can attest.

Typically tapped by engine overhaul facilities, FBOs, and maintenance shops for their expertise and quick turnaround, we've enjoyed dealing directly with Williams and Precision Hose during the Catch-A-Cardinal's firewall forward refurbishment, as well as during prior sweepstakes projects. Call 800/331-5946 or visit the Web site.

May 24
Don's Dream Machines Don's Dream Machines

From early memories, Don Swords recalls a fascination with airplanes: "I could see those things up in the sky, and I'd just go batty." In his 20s, in the mid-1960s, he learned to fly — and worked on aircraft as a hobby to his day job as a mechanic on tank engines. Soon he opened Swords Aviation, and then Don's Dream Machines. Originally based at South Expressway Airport in Jonesboro, Georgia, Don's Dream Machines moved to Griffin-Spaulding County Airport when the Jonesboro airport closed in 1994.

Don's son Jeff began working officially with his father in 1996, though he grew up immersed in aviation. Don's Dream Machines is known for its mastery of small Continental engines; Don holds several STCs within this realm. The shop also specializes in owner assistance to Van's Aircraft RV-series builders. We're thrilled to tap Don's and Jeff's experience with all kinds of engines for the Catch-A-Cardinal project. Call 770/412-8885 or visit the Web site.

May 17
American Propeller

In 1976, Kerry and Kathleen Dawes launched Ameritech Industries, of Redding, California. Two divisions, Eagle Engines and American Propeller, specialize in general aviation powerplants. The Screaming Eagle modification for Beechcraft Barons and Bonanzas is a great example, installing a custom Continental IO-550 to replace the IO-520.

American Propeller produces the Designer*Prop service for many makes and models of propellers, including the McCauley prop on this year's AOPA sweepstakes airplane. The Designer*Prop proprietary paint process can be accomplished with new props or when it's time for a prop overhaul. The company provides repair and overhaul services for props and prop governors. Visit Ameritech's Web site or call 530/221-4470.

May 10
Lycoming Lycoming Engines

In 1907, the Demorest Manufacturing Company of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was restructured and became Lycoming Foundry and Machine Company — a name now very familiar to pilots. In 1929, a Lycoming-powered Beech Travel Air biplane first flew, using a 215-horsepower R-680 engine. More than 25,000 R-680s were built.

Fast-forward to the present day, and Lycoming (now a global operating division of Textron's Avco subsidiary) specializes in piston aircraft engines for both certified and experimental applications. The O-360 engine powering the 1977 Cessna Cardinal comes with Lycoming's roller-tappet technology, which debuted in 2005. One hundred years of innovation and reliability stand behind this year's AOPA sweepstakes airplane. Visit Lycoming's Web site or call 570/323-6181 for more information.

May 3
Air Wrench Air Wrench

With 20 years of service as a technician and maintenance supervisor for a major airline under his belt, Earl Clements incorporated Air Wrench in 2003 to formalize his affinity for general aviation airplanes. Now with five top-notch, commercial-airline-trained A&Ps working at his shop in Griffin, Georgia, Clements is building a reputation for quality work done by quality people.

Air Wrench specializes in twin Cessnas, having recently performed several spar strap ADs (airworthiness directives) on various models — but the crew can handle everything from engine swaps to belly-skin repair, annuals to oil changes. Says Clements, "This little airport [Griffin] flourishes with business and talent," and Air Wrench is no exception. Contact Clements at 678/770-0850 or visit the Web site.

April 26
Michelin Michelin

From a small rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France, established in 1889, Michelin has grown to become a market leader in tires across several transportation segments. But Michelin had its foothold in aviation early on — as a manufacturer of aircraft for the French government. From 1915 to 1918, Michelin built 1,884 bombers in its Carmes factory.

Today, Michelin Aircraft Tire, of Greenville, South Carolina, has provided tires to NASA's space shuttle program, and has developed radial tires for use on the Boeing 777 and 737. The Michelin Air tires and Airstop tubes on the Catch-A-Cardinal continue this legacy of high-quality aircraft tires. Visit the Web site or call 877/503-8071.

April 26
Cleveland Wheels & Brakes Cleveland Wheels & Brakes

Aircraft Wheel & Brake, a division of Parker Hannifin Corporation, has its origins in 1918 with the founding of the parent company by Arthur Parker. Its aviation ties began in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh specified Parker hydraulic fittings for the Spirit of St. Louis. The Aircraft Wheel & Brake division launched in 1936 to concentrate on wheels, brakes, and other aircraft hydraulic components.

The division, located in Avon, Ohio, manufactures Cleveland-brand wheel kits for many single and multiengine general aviation aircraft, along with hydraulic and mechanical drum, external, and internal brake assemblies. We were in great need of new brakes on the sweepstakes Cardinal — and we have them. Visit the Web site or call 440/937-6211.

April 12
Moody Aero-Graphics Moody Aero-Graphics

In 1988, a change to require 12-inch N-numbers on most civil aircraft spurred an Ocala, Florida-based graphics company to enter the general aviation marketplace. Paul Howes, owner of Moody Aero-Graphics, already flew his Cessna 182 on business and a Grumman Cheetah for fun — and, as he guessed, the possibilities for high-end graphics on aircraft would only grow larger in the next 20 years.

Moody offers striping kits, custom photographic images, interior and exterior placards, and paint masking, such as that which we used to outline the paint scheme for the Catch-A-Cardinal. "One day we're going to wrap an airplane completely in graphics," says Howes. Call 352/347-3330 or visit the Web site.

April 5
LP Aero Plastics Inc. LP Aero Plastics

For more than 50 years, LP Aero Plastics has manufactured high-quality windshields and windows for general aviation aircraft. The company holds more than 1,600 PMAs (parts manufacturing approvals) for 500 aircraft, which it provides wholesale to aircraft maintenance and service providers and parts suppliers. All acrylic produced by LP Aero for certified aircraft is cell-cast, rather than extruded, for less distortion.

Jeff Pfister, marketing director for LP Aero, has preached the acrylic-care gospel for many years and is happy to help customers achieve long-lasting clarity in their aircraft windows. What makes him cringe? Use of any paper products or ammonia-based cleaners — those are the big no-nos. You can bet that none will ever touch the new "glass" on your Catch-A-Cardinal. Call 800/957-2376 or visit the Web site.

March 29
Advanced Aircraft Refinishers

New Jersey transplant Tony Dias has worked for some heavy hitters in the corporate aircraft refinishing business — and over the 23 years he's been in the business, he's formed some definite ideas of how things should be done, and how they should be done differently. He put these ideas into practice with the opening of his own facility, Advanced Aircraft Refinishers, at Griffin, Georgia, in November 2006.

AAR specializes in turboprops and business jets and is able to fit aircraft up to the Beechcraft King Air 350 or Hawker 800 into the paint bay. With attention to bodywork such as lap sealing (to fill in seams) and exhaustive final detailing, AAR produces a top-quality finish to appreciate for years to come. Call 770/233-4600 or visit the Web site.

March 22
Garmin International Garmin International

Gary Burrell and Min Kao launched what is now Garmin International with a team of dedicated engineers and one really great product idea: a GPS navigator for personal use. Now Garmin, based in Olathe, Kansas, is nearly synonymous with "GPS" around the world, not only in aviation but also in recreational, marine, and automotive applications — with more products by the minute, it seems, adding to the millions of GPS receivers the company has already sold.

A Garmin avionics stack forms the heart of our Catch-A-Cardinal's panel. Check out Garmin's "In the Air" blog on its Web site, or test out the full range of Garmin innovations at the company's flagship store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Call Garmin at 913/397-8200.

March 15
Sarasota Avionics Inc. Sarasota Avionics International

Sarasota Avionics International, of Sarasota, Florida, started business in April 2000, but everyone on board has even longer-standing ties to the general aviation industry. Led by co-founders Vince Veltri (in the avionics business since 1991) and Bert VanKirk, and co-owner Kirk Fryar, and supported by Bert's son Ryan VanKirk, avionics consultant, and Dave Clarke, avionics manager, the Sarasota team is replete with pilots who love avionics.

The talented team includes professional technicians like Larry Viergiver, who knows his avionics — from legacy to cutting edge — after many quality years at Bendix/King, and Arleigh Yeomans, who had the requisite patience and keen eye to shepherd the painstaking overhaul of the Catch-A-Cardinal's electrical system. Visit the Web site or call 888/289-0997.

March 8
Cobham, Comant, Artex logos Cobham, plc: Comant and Artex

You may not have heard of Cobham, but chances are you've flown with at least one of its products — such as the Comant antennas and Artex emergency locator transmitter (ELT) installed on the Cardinal. Cobham, based in the United Kingdom, is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced aerospace and defense systems.

Comant Industries, of Fullerton, California, in the antennas division, creates an entire line of navigation, communication, and datalink antennas for general aviation, including the VHF com, transponder, and marker beacon antennas for the Cardinal. Artex, of Aurora, Oregon, in the avionics and surveillance division, designs and manufactures next-generation ELTs, such as the ME406, a small-footprint ELT that transmits on both 121.5 and 406 MHz. Visit Comant's Web site or call 714/870-5133. Visit Artex or call 800/547-8901.

March 1
Classic Aircraft Maintenance's Danny Rexroad

When Danny Rexroad retired from his career as a mechanic, inspector, and quality assurance auditor for a major airline and 26 years in the Naval Air Reserve, it opened up his schedule so that he could concentrate on what he really enjoyed: taking care of GA airplanes. Of course, we're making great use of his talents as an inspector and parts manager on the Catch-A-Cardinal project.

Rexroad, based at the Newnan Coweta County Airport in Newnan, Georgia, is a single-engine Cessna specialist, who has on his client list a variety of airplanes for which he is responsible on an ongoing basis. "I really like the 206 on down," says Rexroad, who owns and flies a 1966 150F. Rexroad also has considerable experience overseeing the maintenance programs on a couple of very special Douglas DC-3s. Call 678/372-6346 or e-mail [email protected].

February 15
Freeman's Just Plane Hardware Freeman's Just Plane Hardware

Hardware may not be top of mind for most pilots — until a critical screw drops into a storm grate during your preflight. Whether the need is a minor replacement or a complete package for a restoration project, Freeman's Just Plane Hardware can help you keep your airplane together. Tom Holt, owner of Freeman's in Griffin, Georgia, is a walking encyclopedia of nuts and bolts — the man thinks in buttonheads, flush rivets, and countersunk stainless.

Freeman's can provide all the specialty types of rivets for virtually any kind of project — just as the folks there did for us for the 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal's control surfaces, along with a lengthy list of other certified hardware for the rest of the airplane. You can download the company's entire catalog via the Web site or tap into its wealth of knowledge by calling 800/635-5631.

February 1
The AvNet The AvNet

The AvNet owner Dan Gryder has been an active flight instructor since 1982, specializing in tailwheel training and rating completions. Flight training may be the cornerstone of Gryder's resume, but he developed The AvNet to address a diverse range of "aviation situations" for which he can figure out an "aviation solution."

Since 2001, Gryder has operated out of his large commercial hangar at the Griffin-Spalding County Airport offering convenience for pilots who fly in to engage in virtually every kind of flight training. His company owns and operates numerous aircraft including a Douglas DC-3. The AvNet also performs general aviation consulting such as assessing and advising corporate flight departments regarding best practices for safe, clean operations; developing marketing promotions with companies, or advocating for an aircraft owner during an airplane purchase or restoration. But he's open to suggestion: "I like to cherry-pick the neatest projects," says Gryder. And helping AOPA manage this year's sweepstakes project is a great example. Visit The AvNet Web site or call 678/688-7069.

January 25
Scheme Designers logo Scheme Designers

Craig Barnett's first airplane was a 1964 Cessna 150; he currently flies a 1978 Piper Lance. His experience since 1980 as a pilot and aircraft owner inspired his current business, Scheme Designers, which provides custom design services to aircraft owners, manufacturers, operators, and airlines. His goal? To create a work of art — the airplane — for each client.

Barnett has provided paint schemes for AOPA's sweepstakes aircraft since 2000, gracing our Millennium Mooney, Bonanza, Twin Comanche, Commander 112, and Piper Cherokee Six with unique, engaging, and dynamic designs. Scheme Designers creates a special Web site for each client and uses this tool to develop the final scheme with the customer. Then Barnett provides detailed drawings and specs for the paint shop to use in its application of the scheme. Contact Scheme Designers at 201/569-7785 or visit the Web site for samples of the company's work.

January 18
Cardinal Flyers Online Cardinal Flyers Online

Paul Millner's first airplane was a Cessna Cardinal — a fixed gear model like our sweeps airplane — and now he flies an RG in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. Millner sent out an e-mail digest to other Cardinal pilots in 1997, and now he and webmasters Keith and Debbie Petersen (based in Illinois) not only send out a digest most days of the year, but they also manage the most comprehensive Cardinal information site on the Internet.

Combined, Millner and the Petersens have nearly 45 years of Cardinal experience between them, and it shows. With many photos to illustrate common concerns, sources for parts and maintenance, and forums for members to share ideas and experiences, the CFO is a rich resource for Cardinal pilots — or wannabes.

January 11
AOPA Aircraft Title and Escrow Services

Found an airplane? A title search is your next move. You want to ensure that the person selling you the airplane is legally able to do so, and you want to make sure that the airplane's title is clear of liens. An aircraft lien comes in two types: a security agreement (between a lender and the aircraft owner) and an artisan lien (normally filed by a mechanic against the aircraft title in consideration of services for which he or she was not compensated).

AOPA Aircraft Title and Escrow Services can perform a professional title search for you for $99 — in addition to a variety of other purchase services. It can provide escrow services during the transaction, and deliver your documents to the proper authorities once the sale is final.

Cessna logo

January 1
Cessna Aircraft Company

In 2007, Cessna Aircraft Company celebrates its 80th year in the aircraft manufacturing business — and there's good reason for the company's success. They not only make a great product, but they also support it.

Sales Manager Kelly Reich, of Cessna's parts division, recently rattled off several parts for legacy aircraft that he had shipped out from his stock to customers in the past month, including those from a late-model 170 and a 1943-vintage 140. If they have the means, and a customer has exhausted other sources, they'll build parts as long as they still have the tools (they do), and do so at or below their cost to produce it. It's a great deal when you can get genuine factory parts for a nearly 75-year-old airplane. Visit the Cessna Web site, or call 800/4CESSNA (423-7762) or 316/517-6056.