Larry Tucker (left) with Mike Hanson
Larry Tucker is probably still grinning after his recent trip to Long Beach, California, for his chance to train in a Waco. Tucker is the third person to collect the monthly prize in the AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes. In all, 24 monthly winners will get a chance for a four-hour training session in a Waco. The sweepstakes grand prize is a fully restored 1940 Waco UPF-7 biplane.
"My Waco flying experience can only be described in two words: adrenaline rush," enthused Tucker. He was very impressed with Mike Hanson of Biplane Rides, who is taking sweepstakes winners up for their flights. "Mike immediately impressed me with his expertise and professionalism. He started our briefing by saying, 'Larry, Long Beach Airport is number three in the nation for incursions. You and I are not ever going to allow something like an incursion to happen.'
"During my flight, I wanted to try it all. Stalls, spins, spin recovery, unusual attitudes, steep turns, aerobatics. And we did!" On the way back to Long Beach, Tucker told Hanson he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. According to Tucker, Hanson told him, "No way, buddy, you're alive and well. You're just having a Waco experience! But it's going to be difficult to get that smile off your face for the next few weeks!"