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Air Safety Foundation to auction custom Socata Trinidad GTAir Safety Foundation to auction custom Socata Trinidad GT

<BR><SPAN class=twodeck>'Spirit of Liberty' donated by Socata Aircraft, Inc., to benefit air safety</SPAN><BR><SPAN class=twodeck>'Spirit of Liberty' donated by Socata Aircraft, Inc., to benefit air safety</SPAN>

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation announced today the most valuable item ever offered for bid in its Silent Auction fundraiser: a specially painted, specially equipped "Spirit of Liberty" Socata Trinidad GT, donated by Socata Aircraft, Inc., subsidiary of EADS/Socata. All proceeds above the minimum asking bid will benefit ASF's ongoing efforts to improve general aviation safety.

"The Air Safety Foundation has made extensive contributions to increasing general aviation safety since its creation in 1950 and continues to set a standard for general aviation worldwide," said Philippe Debrun, EADS/Socata president and CEO. "By this exceptional auction, we wanted to assist ASF in its philanthropic mission, and we expect this operation will raise significant sums to increase their aviation safety and education programs."

Outside, the Trinidad GT sports a striking patriotic paint scheme, featuring the French and American flags, painted by Oxford Aviation of Oxford, Maine.

Inside, the aircraft is packed with state-of-the-art avionics, including a Bendix/King KAP 150 three-axis autopilot, KMD 850 multifunction display, KLN 94 color GPS, KDR 510 weather information datalink receiver, and a Goodrich WX-500 Stormscope and Skywatch traffic advisory system. Bendix/King and Goodrich donated the avionics, while Banyan Aircraft Services of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, donated the avionics installation services.

Online bidding for the "Spirit of Liberty" Trinidad GT begins on May 1, 2002, and continues until August 31, 2002. The auction is open to all pilots at the Air Safety Foundation's Web site. Click on the "Online Silent Auction" button.

The winning bidder will be announced at AOPA Expo, to be held October 24-26, 2002, in Palm Springs, California.

Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg praised "Spirit of Liberty" sponsors for their generous donations. "The focus on safety has never been greater," said Landsberg. "We salute Socata, Bendix/King, Goodrich, Oxford Aviation, and Banyan Aircraft Services for supporting general aviation safety."

ASF was among the first national organizations to conduct an online silent auction. Since 1996, the online auction has raised more than $200,000 for ASF safety programs.

While the "Spirit of Liberty" is by far the most expensive item ever offered in this auction, there are numerous less expensive items available for bid right now for those who don't want to bid on something as big as an aircraft. From aviation training courses to celebrity collectibles, there is something within the price range and interest of every aviator in the Air Safety Foundation Online Silent Auction.

Chartered in 1950 by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Air Safety Foundation is the largest private, nonprofit organization in the United States dedicated to general aviation safety research, continuing pilot education, and training. The foundation is funded largely by tax-deductible contributions from individual pilots.

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