September 22, 2011
By Thomas B Haines
The AOPA Foundation’s annual A Night for Flight online auction and banquet generated more than $200,000 for the organization. Foundation President Bruce Landsberg reported the news at the second-annual fundraiser banquet Sept. 22 at AOPA Aviation Summit. The dinner featured acrobatic performers with AiRealistic.
The online auction, which launched Aug. 11 and closed the evening of Sept. 22 during the banquet, offered 120 items for sale, from aviation-related paintings to a lunch and flight experience with pilot and actor Harrison Ford. The Ford experience generated the highest bid, $50,200. However, other experiences, including a private tour of the Ronald Reagan ranch ($13,000) and a day of aerobatic flying with Sean Tucker ($10,200) also proved to be popular items.
At the auction, Allan Schrader, founder of the Lightspeed Foundation, provided the AOPA Foundation with a check for $12,000—an amount donated by Lightspeed customers and the company itself. The Lightspeed Foundation’s goal is to support aviation nonprofits. The public can vote on the most deserving such entities. Schrader reported that the AOPA Foundation received about three times the votes of the next nearest nonprofit.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt addressed the more-than 200 attendees, saying, “I hope you raise a ton of money for safety tonight because you will make my life a lot easier.”
Landsberg reported that all of the funds from the auction and banquet will be used to support the AOPA Foundation, which has as its goals improving the perception of general aviation, protecting airports, growing the pilot population, and improving safety through the Air Safety Institute.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
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