May 8, 2002
On his way home from a business trip last week, AOPA President Phil Boyer dropped in on the folks at Rare Aircraft in Owatonna, Minn. While there, Rare Aircraft founder Roy Redman showed Boyer the slow-but-steady progress being made on AOPA's Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes aircraft, a Waco UPF-7.
"The amount of work and the level of craftsmanship that goes into a restoration like this is simply incredible," said Boyer. "Seeing these restored beauties makes me want to go out and get my tailwheel endorsement!"
Redman expects to have AOPA's Sweepstakes Waco flying by early autumn, despite Rare Aircraft moving lock, stock, and barrel this summer, and ready for its first public appearance at AOPA Expo 2002.
As work was nearing an end on last year's sweepstakes aircraft, one of the most technologically advanced Bonanzas around, Boyer looked ahead to the next project, and to the upcoming centennial of the Wright brothers' first flight, and thought something historical would be in order. And so began the two-year sweepstakes to restore and give away the Waco.
Anyone who joins AOPA or renews an AOPA membership is automatically entered in the sweepstakes. But there are additional ways to enter as well, such as recruiting a new member.
In addition to the grand prize of a fully restored Waco UPF-7, two dozen monthly winners will get an opportunity to take a flight in a similar open-cockpit Waco. AOPA member Shannon Elliott of Lafayette, Louisiana, recently became the first monthly winner to take his flight.
Our Waco was stripped down to its tubular steel skeleton and is slowly being built back up again. It will include brand-new, handmade wings, courtesy of Roy Redman's son, Mike, who says they're even better constructed than the originals.
For more information and restoration updates, visit the Web site.
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