AOPA Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Update -- What would you do with the keys?

March 25, 2013

Sweeps Update

Project Update: December 4, 2008

What would you do with the keys?

By Ian J. Twombly

A few weeks ago I asked what would you do with the Piper Archer if you were the grand prize winner of the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes. The answers flooded in, and many of them were surprising.

Among the variety of opinions about the airplane, one thing is for sure-every member would love to be put in the position of having to choose to keep or sell a sweepstakes airplane. And although the Archer may not be worth as much as the Twin Comanche or some other previous sweepstakes aircraft, selling means being able to put your child through even the most expensive private school.

A history of winners

The AOPA sweepstakes has been going on in some form or another since the early days of the association. But what we call the modern sweepstakes began in 1993 with the Good as New 172. We’ve given away 14 airplanes in the past 15 years (the Waco project took two years), so it’s only natural that the airplane won’t fit some winner’s needs. But sometimes we get lucky and a winner holds on to an airplane.

For a full history of what’s happened with the airplanes, check out Al Marsh’s story from 1995. Not much has changed since he wrote it. The Cessna 182 was sold last year, and the 2005 Commander was sold, the 2006 Cherokee Six was just sold recently, and the Cardinal from last year was sold soon after Bruce Chase won the airplane. I’m hoping this year will be different.

You have options

Insuring, maintaining, and operating an airplane can be expensive. One reason we chose the Archer was to try and keep all those costs low for the winner. And times are certainly tough for everyone right now. But as the winner, before you sell your prize, think about your options.

Yes, you will have to pay taxes. Option one is to take out a loan against the value of the airplane. The Archer has already depreciated, so there’s little to no risk in this. Don’t want or can’t afford a payment? No problem. Option two is to take on a partner. This is a great way to enjoy the Archer at half the price. The new partner would more than pay for the taxes, and I can tell you that squawks have been few and far between with this bird.

Some members believe one of these options is the way to go if they want to keep the airplane. For example:

When I win the airplane, I can sell my existing one to cover the tax burden and then have an airplane that will suit my needs quite nicely. - Jeff Schlueter

I can't believe anyone would care how much it would be worth. Being a student pilot, I think the Piper Archer is PRICELESS! I would definitely keep it until the airplane no longer fit my flying needs. - Heather Jay

Some members even said they would return to flying if they won it. But there are always those who feel the airplane isn’t for them.

I already have an airplane, and I don't need two at the moment. I'd fly it for 10 hours and see what of the avionics I like. - Michael Coyle

As to what I might do with this airplane if my name was pulled from the hopper, I'd accept it, but it would be for sale immediately. - Garry Brandenburg, who later went on to say he would look for partners if need be to keep it.

Although I’m completely biased, I would keep 208GG if I were eligible and won. And it’s not because I’ve grown to love the airplane as it has carried me all around the country, or that it is beautiful, comfortable, and very capable. It’s because the economics just make sense. It has all the equipment you could possible want or need in an airplane of this vintage, but with the added bonus of being virtually free to the winner. What’s better than that?

Next week: Wrap up issues

E-mail the author at ian.twombly@aopa.org