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AOPA Surprize Squad pulls over lucky winners at Sun 'n FunAOPA Surprize Squad pulls over lucky winners at Sun 'n Fun

AOPA Surprize Squad pulls over lucky winners at Sun 'n Fun

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Paul Chappano (with sons
Phil and Joe) is the winner of a
Garmin 296 handheld GPS.
Click for larger image
Five lucky attendees won
AOPA watches from Sporty's.
Click for larger image

AOPA's Surprize Squad set out in two golf carts armed with a camera crew and plenty of prizes Friday with one mission in mind - give away one Garmin 296 handheld GPS and five AOPA watches from Sporty's.

As the Surprize Squad wove through crowds of spectators sporting AOPA Day stickers, many walked beside the carts and came up from behind to point out their stickers. But only six people could be the lucky winners.

Joseph Russell was surprised by the swarm of AOPA staff that surrounded him and his buddies while they were walking among the aircraft displays. After the Surprize Squad informed him that he had won an AOPA watch, he said he was in need of one. "My Wally-world watch is going out on me." Russell, of Illinois, owns a Mooney and has been an AOPA member for about 30 years.

One lucky lady also won a watch. Deborah Chabot, from Connecticut, got pulled over, but she thought she was in trouble. The Surprize Squad got her attention saying, "Don't move young lady, we need to talk to you."

"I thought I'd done something wrong - I thought they were going to kick me out of the park," she said laughing after it sunk in that she was an AOPA Day winner. Her initial reaction was that her husband of three years would want the watch. But, on second thought, she decided to keep it.

Paul Chappano, an unsuspecting father, was watching aircraft take off and land with his two sons. Now he's the winner of a Garmin 296 handheld GPS. "I was wondering what was happening, but I didn't know what," he said.

Chappano rents a Cessna 172 and belongs to a Navy flying club in Jacksonville, Florida. He's looked at purchasing a handheld GPS but decided to wait until he started flying more frequently. Now he has the perfect excuse to get up in the air and try out his new gadget. But he doesn't plan to let his sons, Phil age 5 and Joe age 6, help him handle the GPS in the air. "It'll go out the window," Chappano said.

Three other AOPA watches have been given away at Sun 'n Fun. Robert McAfee, Henry Fucik, and Curtis Wall were the lucky winners. The Surprize Squad also gave AOPA caps and ponchos to those wearing the AOPA Day sticker.

There are still chances to win. Just swing by the big yellow AOPA tent today to enter a drawing for a second Garmin 296 handheld GPS and five other watches.

April 15, 2005

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