Weather won't keep the AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes aircraft from appearing at the thirteenth annual AOPA Fly-In and Open House. It can't. The lovingly restored 1940 Waco UPF-7 biplane is already safely at AOPA headquarters.
Because heavy weather kept the Waco from attending the grand opening of the AOPA Pilot Facility at First Flight Airport in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., this will be its first appearance in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The sweepstakes Waco has been returned to like-new condition but sports a few bells and whistles undreamed of when it first flew. Like a Garmin 250XL GPS and GTX 327 transponder. Or a PS Engineering PM1200 intercom, designed for noisy environments (like an open cockpit) with Sennheiser HMEC 300 active-noise-reduction headsets. For more information on what's aboard, as well as the painstaking process to bring this beautiful aircraft back to its former glory, read the articles and restoration updates on AOPA Online.
Anyone who has joined AOPA or renewed their membership during 2002 and 2003 is eligible to win. Complete rules and eligibility requirements are available online. The drawing for the aircraft will be held early in 2004.
Your Waco will, of course, be the star of the static display during the AOPA Fly-In and Open House. But there will be plenty of other aircraft and displays to see. Everything from two-seat training aircraft to GA giants like the Pilatus PC-12 and Cessna Grand Caravan will be on display. And under the big top, vendors will offer everything from the latest gadgets and gizmos to insurance to engines and propellers.
Visitors will also be able to attend a dozen different seminars, covering topics ranging from plain old hangar talk to buying and owning an aircraft, to safety, to airspace issues.
Arrival procedures and driving directions are available online. Pilots, pay extra attention to arrival procedures. They have changed significantly from previous years due to airspace restrictions.
Photo: AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes Waco on the ramp outside AOPA headquarters.