The Grand Finale Banquet for AOPA Expo 2002 in Palm Springs, California, began in grand patriotic fashion tonight, with AOPA Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg turning over the keys to the "Spirit of Liberty" Trinidad GT to its new owner.
The new owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, was the successful bidder for the first aircraft ever offered on ASF's Online Silent Auction.
"This is a classic win/win situation," Landsberg told the audience. "Our top bidder gets a great aircraft with a spectacular one-of-a-kind paint job and all the bells and whistles inside. And the Air Safety Foundation, because of the new owner's generous bid, gets a big shot in the arm for continuing our safety education mission."
EADS Socata donated the TB20 Trinidad GT, which sports a patriotic paint scheme designed and executed by Oxford Aviation of Oxford, Maine, depicting the French and American flags draped across the fuselage.
The avionics suite, donated by Bendix/King and Goodrich, includes a Bendix/King 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, as well as a Bendix/King KAP 150 three-axis autopilot. Banyan Aircraft Services of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., donated the installation services.
The Trinidad GT auction was so successful that ASF is exploring the possibility of offering other aircraft for auction in the future.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the world's largest nonprofit GA safety organization. It was founded in 1950 solely to help general aviation pilots improve flight safety. Since that time, the GA total accident rate has dropped by more than 90 percent despite a large increase in GA flight hours. ASF produces live seminars, online interactive courses, videotapes, written Safety Advisors, and other aviation safety materials for free distribution to all GA pilots.
The ASF Online Silent Auction is one of the foundation's ongoing fund-raising efforts. ASF is funded entirely by voluntary donations from AOPA members and by tax-deductible contributions from individuals and companies interested in promoting general aviation safety.