Texas flight instructor wins AOPA Sweepstakes Cardinal
Longview, Texas-based flight instructor and university professor Bruce Chase is the winner of AOPA’s 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal airplane. With some of Chase’s students and local media looking on, AOPA President Phil Boyer on Jan. 26 handed over the keys to the completely refurbished 1977 Cessna Cardinal at East Texas Regional Airport.
“They really got me,” said Chase. “I’m still in a little bit of shock.”
Chase, 38, called his wife Debbie to let her know the news. “I about leaped out of my skin,” she said. “I didn’t take him seriously…he’s always kidding around.”
Chase has given more than 6,300 hours of flight instruction during his 15 years as a CFI. He’s currently an assistant professor and assistant chief flight instructor at LeTourneau University, where he earned his bachelor’s in aviation technology in 1992. In 2005, he earned his master’s in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Chase also is an FAA-appointed aviation safety counselor.
A married father of two, Chase caught the aviation bug as a small boy. Living in Korea where his parents were missionaries, he used to watch airplanes fly in and out of the country ferrying supplies.
Chase’s passion for aviation safety made it easy for AOPA to set up the big surprise. He’s studying pilot performance in the transition from flying glass panels to steam gauges, but he also plans to research the reverse.
Because the glass-cockpit transition is an area of interest to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, Executive Director Bruce Landsberg stepped up to stage the ruse. Landsberg contacted Chase under the guise of providing funding for his study.
“We’re really looking forward to this,” Landsberg said after setting up the 11 a.m. “meeting” with Chase at KRS Express, the FBO on the field. “I think there’s really a great need for understanding how glass works...and how pilots are transitioned.”
Chase took the bait: “That sounds pretty exciting,” he said of the meeting and grant opportunity.
Chase said he “had an inkling” that he might be the winner when Landsberg called, but added that he was excited to talk about the research, so he was “distracted.”
It was a day full of surprises as Landsberg made good on the ostensible reason for his visit. Landsberg presented Chase and LeTourneau University with a $5,000 grant to continue his work.
Fly the virtual Cardinal from your home computer
While Chase is the only AOPA member who’ll be flying the Cardinal from its cushioned leather seats, you can still try your hand at piloting the Cessna 177B—from a cushioned leather chair in front of your personal computer. Just download our updated Version 2.0 of the AOPA 177B Cardinal add-on to Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Developed for AOPA by Flight1 Software, the new program adds Flight Sim’s virtual cockpit—which allows you to pan, tilt, and zoom your view, much as you would in the real cockpit—to the digitally replicated airplane. See AOPA Online for software requirements and to download the file.
Catch-A-Cardinal soars, thanks to contributors
The completely refurbished, state-of-the-art Cardinal AOPA delivered to Chase wouldn’t have been possible without the dozens of project contributors.
Watch Phil Boyer interview Bruce Chase on his flying background
Get ready: AOPA’s Get Your Glass Sweepstakes is under way
AOPA is moving from steam gauges to glass panel with this year’s Get Your Glass Sweepstakes airplane, a refurbished 1976 Piper Archer PA28-181. We’re retrofitting the Archer with a glass display from industry newcomer Aspen Avionics, as well as avionics from Garmin, S-Tec, Avidyne, PS Engineering, and many others. Read the latest update.
Remember, if you join or renew your AOPA membership in 2008, you’ll automatically be entered in the Get Your Glass Sweepstakes. (You can earn two extra entries by signing up for AOPA’s Automatic Annual Renewal Program.) Look for the Archer at Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in April in Lakeland, Fla.; AOPA’s Fly-In and Open House in June in Frederick, Md.; AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., in July; and AOPA Expo in November in San Jose, Calif.
Updated January 30, 2008