August 22, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
A print by aviation artist Sam Lyons has joined the growing list of great works, once-in-a-lifetime activities, and other fabulous items up for bid in the AOPA Foundation’s A Night for Flight online auction.
Lyons has donated a print of his work “Golden Times” for the auction that opened Aug. 11 and runs through Sept. 22. It joins an auction catalog offering such opportunities as the chance to have lunch and go flying with pilot and actor Harrison Ford, a day flying with aerobatic legend Sean D. Tucker, the chance to purchase a brand-new Cessna 172 Skyhawk SP at a substantial discount, and a chance for two to play a round of golf and then have dinner with baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. and Cirrus Aircraft President and CEO Brent Wouters.
Lyons, an Atlanta, Ga., native, lives with his wife Mindy in Lakeland, Fla., where he was named the artist in residence at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In. He has been pursuing his passion of being a full-time aviation artist since 1985. His work can be found anywhere aviation lives, including the Blue Angels headquarters, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Air Force Museum, Naval Aviation Museum, Royal Air Force Museum, and Disney.
His newest work, “Amelia’s Wheels” recently became available—and it marked a departure, said Mindy Lyons, who had been urging Sam “to do a painting that features a woman, and finally got him to do it.”
Seeking input from friends and customers on their Facebook page, Mindy said, a consensus emerged that Sam should commemorate a successful flight by Amelia Earhart. “Amelia’s Wheels” celebrates her May 20, 1932, flight from Newfoundland, bound for Paris in a vibrant red Lockheed Vega.
“When she brought her plane down after 15 hours and 18 minutes (according to one account) she wasn’t in Paris. Instead, she landed in a pasture at Culmore, north of Derry, Northern Ireland. When a farm hand asked, ‘Have you flown far?’ Amelia famously replied, ‘From America,’” says the description of the work on the artist’s website.
Mindy said viewers of the work are struck by the rendering of Earhart. “Amelia’s face is so dead-on. You feel like she’s sitting right there,” she said.
Proceeds from the auction go to support the AOPA Foundation’s efforts to protect America’s airports, promote air safety, expand the pilot population, and enhance general aviation’s image. Be sure to register. Then check the A Night for Flight auction Web pages frequently for new items.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor.
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