Featured Contributors


Major projects such as this are infinitely more difficult without good factory support, which exactly what we got this year from Piper. The folks in Vero Beach, Fla., bent over backward many times to find the right part or advise us on retrofits. Despite thousands upon thousands of legacy airplanes on the market, Piper continues to support each and every one at a high level. Visit Piper’s Web site or call 772-567-4361.

December 11

Reader Plates

New to the sweepstakes this year is Reader Plates, an electronic approach plate company. Reader Plates takes a Sony e-book and digitally places every approach plate in the country on it for a very low monthly fee. It’s a great tool to reduce cockpit clutter and always have the right plate handy. The sweepstakes winner will get an e-book and a year’s subscription to the service. Visit the company’s Web site.

December 4

Gee Bee Baffle Seals

Engine running hot? It’s probably time to replace the baffle seals. If you are looking for a durable, reliable product, check out Gee Bee Baffle Seals. Gee Bee takes a high quality rudder material and cuts it with a laser to ensure a perfect fit in each type of aircraft. It’s a small investment for an important problem. Contact Guy Ginbey at Gee Bee at 800-556-3160 or e-mail him

November 20

American Propeller

Have you noticed the beautiful prop that fronts the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer? That’s courtesy of American Propeller, a full-service shop based in Redding, Calif. American Propeller sells, maintains, and overhauls all the major propeller brands. The shop also provides custom paint jobs, like that on the Archer’s prop. Visit the Web site or call 530-221-4470.

November 13

Bruce’s Custom Covers

Chances are you’ve heard of Bruce’s Custom Covers. The company makes custom aircraft covers for hundreds of different types of aircraft. While many know Bruce’s custom canopy covers created to match your airplane’s shape, size, color, and antennas, the company also makes prop, engine, wing, and other types of covers. It’s a small investment in your airplane’s future. Check out the company’s Web site or call 408-738-3959.

November 6

Spot Satellite Messenger

Going through the mountains on the way west, I was happy to have an emergency device just in case. The Spot Satellite Messenger is a compact signaling device that connects you to help via satellite anywhere at any time. The winner of the sweepstakes will have many extra goodies, including a new Spot with a year’s free service. To learn more, visit Spot Satellite’s Web site or call 866-651-7768.

October 30

PS Engineering

When you think of audio panels, chances are you think of PS Engineering. The company’s flagship PMA8000B features multiple comm. and nav channels, isolating, radio replay, Intellivox, and an external auxiliary jack for entertainment. The Archer features the PMA8000B-MP3, the same basic functions as the original 8000B, with the addition of a 1GB memory for audio files. That means we’ll be entertained and in touch all the way to San Jose. Visit PS Engineering’s Web site or call 800-427-2376.

October 23

Quaker City Plating

One of those little things that made a huge difference to the look of the interior was the seatbelt buckles and other chrome accents. Quaker City Plating in Whittier, Calif., did the work and it looks beautiful. Quaker City has been doing decorative metal work for more than 40 years. The company works with everything from brass to chrome. Visit the Web site or call 562-945-3721

October 16

Cleveland Wheels and Brakes

Now a division of Parker Hannifin, Cleveland Wheels and Brakes has been a leader in the field since its inception in 1936. The company makes wheels, brakes, master cylinders, and other parts for most general aviation airplanes. Check them out for your next wheel or brake job through a suppler, or visit their Web site or call 800/272-7537.

October 9

Central Airmotive

Are you in need of an interior part for your Bonanza, twin Cessna, or other general aviation airplane? If so, give Central Airmotive a try. The Archer needed four new headrests to go with its beautiful black leather seats, and Central Airmotive had them in stock and shipped them right away. Although the company is better known for providing interior parts for jets and high-end turboprops and pistons, they carry thousands of parts that can help almost any owner. Visit the company’s Web site or call 660/885-8317.

October 2


Still a relatively unknown name to the light GA segment, Kannad is a French company that’s been in the business of making beacons and safety equipment for more than 20 years. The company’s compact ELT installed on the sweepstakes Archer is new to the market, and is already known for being a robust beacon for a competitive price. To learn more, visit Kannad’s Web site.

September 25

Concorde Battery

Behind the mass of electronics now adorning the Archer’s panel is the real workhorse—a Concorde battery. Concorde has been in business since 1979, and is one of the preeminent aircraft battery companies today. Manufacturers such as Diamond, Cessna, Socata, and Gulfstream rely on Concorde performance, and with offerings for almost every type of piston and turbine general aviation airplane, Concorde probably has what you need too. Visit the Web site or call 626-813-1234.

September 18


Started more than 70 years ago, Jeppesen continues today on its long history of providing navigation aids to pilots. With a full suite of electronic charting options, Jeppesen is the industry leader. The company has provided the electronic approach plate subscription for the Avidyne EX500 and the navigation data for the two GPS units. Visit Jeppesen's Web site for more information.

September 11


Sitting behind an aircraft starter that fails to turn the prop causes quite a sinking feeling. Sky-Tec hopes you never have that feeling again with its line of flyweight starters. Now factory equipment on all Lycoming and Superior engines, Sky-Tec offers starters that are light, reliable, and have built-in features such as no Bendix, and a shear pin in the event of a kickback. See all the offerings on the company’s Web site or call 800/476-7896.

September 4


Now a division of Cobham, S-Tec is celebrating its thirtieth year. With decades of experience under its belt, the company now produces a number of different units ranging from ones that fit inside the turn coordinator, to full three-axis autopilots capable of advanced functions. Throughout the company’s history, the mission has remained the same—to produce safe, accurate flight control systems that increase safety and lower workload for the GA pilot. Visit S-Tec’s Web site or call 800-872-7832.

August 28

L-3 Communications Avionics Systems

Although only a division of a massive defense company, L-3 Communications Avionics Systems offers a diverse and extensive product line. The Archer features one of the company’s WX500 stormscopes, a great product with a well-documented history. But L-3’s avionics division is developing new products all the time, and just recently earned certification for Smartdeck, it’s integrated flight cockpit system. Learn more about all the company’s offerings on its Web site or call 800-253-9525.

August 21

Avidyne Corporation

Avidyne is a modern avionics pioneer. The company claims a number of industry firsts, including the first datalink-capable multifunction display and the first integrated cockpit avionics suite for general aviation. Today Avidyne continues its innovation, while constantly improving on its well-known products. With an EX500 MFD complete with traffic, weather, and approach plates, the sweepstakes winner will have the best situational awareness tools available. Visit the Web site or call at 800-284-3963.

August 14

Aspen Avionics

Aspen Avionics has pioneered the idea of bringing affordable retrofit electronic flight information displays en masse. The small Albuquerque-based company developed, certified, and is now delivering the world’s most affordable certified aftermarket display. Designed to fit into existing holes and to be easily upgradeable, the Aspen Avionics EFD1000 PFD is a revolution in glass technology. Visit the Web site or call 505-856-5034.

August 7

Goodyear Aviation Tires

When it comes to aircraft tires, Goodyear is a great source. The American company produces five different lines of tires, covering everything from small general aviation aircraft to military jets and large commercial airliners. Whether you need tubes or tires, Goodyear has you covered. Visit the Web site for more information.

July 24

Plane Power

With this year’s sweepstakes panel being powered primarily by the electrical system, we knew we would have to replace the alternator and voltage regulator with reliable, aftermarket parts. That’s why we turned to Plane Power, maker certified and experimental alternators, generator to alternator converters, and voltage regulators. Plane Power says its alternators are better because they output more power while operating at a lower temperature and with fewer revolutions. Visit their Web site or give them a call at 877/934-5700.

July 17

Precision Hose Technology

Aircraft hoses are often-overlooked maintenance items that are inexpensive and easy to change. Precision Hose Technology is a specialty company that offers more than 600 engine and airframe hose kits for general aviation airframes. Call 800/331-5946 or visit the Web site to order. It takes the company only two or three days to create a full custom kit for your aircraft. The sweepstakes Archer features a full set.

July 3

J.P. Instruments

JPI is known as a leader in the area of fuel- and engine-management instruments. The company continues its long support of AOPA sweepstakes projects with an EDM-800 engine analyzer that includes fuel flow information. Using a JPI engine analyzer has become practically a requirement on high-performance aircraft, and a great way to monitor engine health on even the smaller four-cylinder airplanes such as the Get Your Glass Archer. Visit JPI’s Web site or call them at 800-345-4574 to learn all about the company’s line of engine analyzers, aircraft system monitors, and new GPS moving map displays.

June 26


One of the comfort appointments for the winner’s Archer will be four new Lightspeed Zulu headsets. Zulu is Lightspeed’s newest ANR headset, and it is a comfortable unit with many features that he or she will be sure to love. Aside from good sound quality and a nice microphone, the headset is Bluetooth capable, negating the need to take off the headset to call flight service on the ground for a clearance. There’s also an aux jack for MP3 players that brings music directly into the headset. Four passengers with four headsets means each will be able to listen to the music of their choice. Learn more by visiting the company’s Web site or by calling 800/332-2421.

June 19

Rosen Sunvisor System

Despite many thousands of dollars in high-tech avionics equipment, it’s still the simple things that members notice. The Rosen Sunvisors, for example, are a very popular retrofit. Rosen Sunvisor Systems are found on hundreds of different types of aircraft, and for good reason. The high quality visors block 99-percent of UV light, and offer a sturdy, easily adjustable alternative to most stock products. Give them a call at 800/284-7677 or visit their Web site.

June 12


By now the name is well known for advances in avionics. Garmin International is a diversified company, offering everything from marine GPS units to consumer electronics. But to pilots, Garmin is king when it comes to GPS. The sweepstakes airplane features two of the company’s best-known aviation offerings: the GNS430W, as well as a Garmin transponder. With precision approach capability and a moving map display, the GNS430W will take the lucky winner anywhere he or she wants to go with incredible situational awareness.

May 29

One Wink, LLC

Aviation is awash in specialty manufacturers and suppliers, some of which have great value. A relatively new entrant to the market that meets this definition is One Wink, LLC from Bloomington, Ill. One Wink produces the Cole Clarifier, an ingenious little magnifying glass that bonds onto the Kollsman window and makes reading and adjusting the altimeter setting significantly easier. The modification is quick, inexpensive, and FAA approved. Visit their Web site or call them at 309/664-6746.

May 22

Piper Flyer Association

Type clubs fill a unique role in aviation by providing targeted, pertinent information to aircraft owners. The Piper Flyer Association is a relatively new presence in this area, but the group already provides members with a useful magazine and other information geared towards Piper owners. For the 2008 sweepstakes, the association has offered to supply the winner a free membership that is sure to get him or her in touch with some great type-specific resources. Visit the Web site or call them at 920/867-2800.

May 15

Essco Aircraft

Essco Aircraft calls itself the “aircraft manual people,” and for good reason. The company has been providing the industry with maintenance manuals, parts catalogs, and pilot training aids for almost 50 years. With more than 18,000 items in stock, Essco Aircraft can provide almost anything you need to help you through a job. In the case of the sweepstakes project, Essco’s manuals were instrumental in helping us to identify parts and the instructions needed to work on the Archer. Visit their Web site or call them at 877/318-1555.

May 8


Comant is the largest aircraft antenna manufacturer in the world in terms of volume shipments. With more than 500 different models and 65,000 units shipped each year, the company has an antenna for almost all GA applications. They supply aircraft manufacturers like Cessna, Piper, and Hawker Beechcraft, as well as avionics manufacturers like Honeywell and Garmin. With new avionics purchases, it makes sense to check them out for space-saving solutions such as combined GPS and nav/comm antennas. Visit them on the Web or call 714/870-2420.

May 1

Penn Avionics

Peter Stelzenmuller opened Penn Avionics in 1989 with just himself and one employee. Since then he has quietly grown the company to be one of the largest general aviation avionics shops in the Northeast, and one of the world’s biggest dealers for equipment from Garmin and other market leaders. Stelzenmuller is a pilot and aircraft owner who understands the needs of GA pilot/owners, and his work in the shop reflects that. We thank Penn Avionics for working on this year’s project and making a 1976 Piper Archer II turn in to a beautiful and capable glass-equipped aircraft.

April 24

Aircraft Door Seals

A unique company for a not-so-unique problem, Aircraft Door Seals makes model-specific rubber door seals to fit many popular Piper, Mooney, Beechcraft, and Cessna airplanes. Each seal is molded specifically the fit each model, and is not simply a piece of straight rubber. Products are available for cabin doors and baggage doors. . Visit them online or call 405/470-3636.

April 17

Laminar Flow Systems

Robin Thomas started Laminar Flow Systems in 1983 in the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. After a move stateside in 1996, the company grew greatly and now produces a number of aerodynamic enhancements for the PA-28, the PA-32, and other Pipers. Most products address the landing gear, such as the Speedpants on the Archer, while others focus on the wings, hence the name Laminar Flow Systems. See what they can do for your Piper by visiting the Web site or by calling 888/327-8140.

April 3

Aerospace Welding Minneapolis

One thing that’s going to be hard to miss when you first see the airplane is the new, overhauled exhaust system, especially when the cowling is off. Aerospace Welding Minneapolis, Inc. is the world’s largest general aviation aircraft exhaust and engine-mount repair facility. The company offers both FAA/PMA new and overhauled exhaust parts, shrouds, and attaching hardware, and it has hundreds of exhaust parts and components in stock ready to ship and thousands of core parts ready to overhaul on an exchange basis. Call 800/597-4315 for a free exhaust system catalog or visit the Web site.

March 27

Knots 2U

Burlington, Wis.-based Knots 2U was started with the “purpose of adding speed and efficiency to aircraft.” All of their 70 speed modification products are FAA approved and STC’d. The company offers a wide range of parts, including gap seals, wing tips, wheel fairings, and fairing kits. Although they specialize in products for Pipers, they also offer Cessna and Beechcraft parts. Visit the Web site or call 262/763-5100.

March 20

Kosola and Associates

Harold Kosola and his partners literally invented the business of repairing and refurbishing aircraft engine mounts. Now in business for more than 30 years, Kosola and Associates is known as the source for engine mount repair. Since first opening many decades ago, they have expanded to provide a multitude of engineering services, from DER and DAR approvals to stress analysis and field approval support. Visit them online or call 229/435-4119.

March 13

Penn Yan Aero

Bill Middlebrook’s grandfather started Penn Yan Aero in a small hangar in Penn Yan, N.Y., in 1945. Now with 40 dedicated and proficient employees, Penn Yan Aero continues to thrive, and has built a worldwide reputation for quality work and excellent customer service. The shop works on Lycoming, Continental, and Superior engines, and holds many STCs for increased power on Skyhawks and other popular GA airplanes. Visit the Web site or call 800/727-7230.

March 6

LP Aero Plastics

LP Aero Plastics is one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of windows and windshields for general aviation. The company has windows and windshields for hundreds of different types of aircraft. They also provide one-piece windshields for many of the Piper models, and we are happy to have the modification on this year’s Get Your Glass sweepstakes Archer. Orders can be made through the company’s extensive distributor network, found on the Web site.

February 28


Think of great leather and the one adjective that always comes to mind is “butter.” It may be cliché, but the first time you feel Spinneybeck leather, butter immediately comes to mind. Maybe that’s because it has an almost creamy texture. Spinneybeck first imported fine Italian leathers more than 40 years, and with more than 700 colors and two million square feet of inventory, they most likely have what you need. Visit them online or call 800/482-7777.

February 21

BAS, Inc.

BAS is a specialized aviation company focused on doing one thing well—providing inertial reel shoulder harnesses for various Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft model airplanes. The BAS system is a relatively inexpensive way to significantly increase the comfort and safety of an aircraft. By attaching the shoulder harness above the front seats instead of to the side, the reel system is able to keep them off the pilot and passenger’s neck. A shoulder harness is useless if it’s not worn. With a BAS system installed, that’s not a problem. Visit the Web site or call 888/255-6566.

February 14

Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings

The paint gurus at Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings have been offering products that have been repainting the aviation industry for more than 20 years. Their paints, primers, and topcoats are heavily tested and proven in the real world. Through a number of different products and color choices, the company offers hundreds of choices for those looking to repaint their aircraft exterior, interior, and various components. Big and small, old or new, Sherwin-Williams Aerospace Coatings has a paint that fits. Check out the Web site for product and color information.

February 7

Williams Airmotive

Paul Williams began repairing wings and control surfaces more than 30 years ago. Now son Roy is in the business and Williams Airmotive continues to be a highly respected source for wings and control surfaces, specializing in Beechcraft, Cessnas, and Pipers. The company currently stocks more than 2,000 wing cores and more than 6,000 control surface cores. If you need it, Williams probably has it. Williams Airmotive will gladly repair your component or exchange it for another. Give them a call at 260/347-0807 or visit them online.

January 31

Micro AeroDynamics

Micro AeroDynamics has been testing, producing, and selling their Micro Vortex Generators for almost 20 years. The company now has STCs for more than 500 different types of aircraft, including our PA-28-181. When it came time to decide on which modifications to do for the Archer, Micro’s VGs were at the top of the list. The reduction in stall speed and better handling characteristics at low speed, with no reported reduction in airspeed made the VGs a must-do item. Oxford Aviation installed them in less than a day, and the paperwork was a non-issue. The kit comes with everything a mechanic needs to do the installation. As an added bonus, Micro AeroDynamics has excellent customer service and was able to ship immediately. Give them a call at 800/677-2370 or visit the Web site.

January 24

Oxford Aviation

Jim Horowitz founded Oxford Aviation in the rural mountains of western Maine in 1989. His mission was to provide expertly rendered interiors and paint jobs, and by all accounts that’s exactly what’s he’s done. From its first days in a small hangar at the Oxford Airport, Horowitz has grown the business to include pretty much every square foot of office and hangar space on the field. Oxford Aviation is even expanding to Sanford, Maine, to be able to handle larger jets. Over the years Horowitz and his skilled craftsmen have built up a reputation for quality and workmanship that extends far beyond just the Northeast. He’s a former small businessman of the year, and numerous senators and governors from Maine have praised the company’s commitment to quality.

January 17

AOPA Aircraft Title Services

Buying an airplane is a stressful endeavor. Nevermind the fat check that must be traded for the keys. Getting there is most of the battle. One must-do step along the way is a title search. Buy an airplane with a lien and you’ll be responsible for it. Protect yourself with a title search from AOPA Aircraft Title Services. A title search lets you know the lien status of the airplane as well as the incident/accident history, the database of major alterations or repairs, the name and address of the current owner (is the owner the one actually selling you the airplane?). AIC, AOPA’s title partner, can complete the title search in as little as 24 hours and the cost is a reasonable $99.

Using escrow services, which AOPA Aircraft Title Services also offers, is a decision that depends on the situation. Doing the deal in cash face-to-face with no deposit is probably safe without it. But if there’s a lien, or if you’re doing the deal from a distance, escrow is smart money. Let the professionals take care of the paperwork. With AOPA Aircraft Title Services, a phone call and a few forms take all the guesswork and stress out of the deal.