Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? That was the case with the awarding of the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes aircraft, a Piper Archer II, on February 28. Karoline Amodeo, a 25-year-old private pilot from Hopewell Junction, New York, accepted the keys to N208GG from AOPA President Craig Fuller at Dutchess County Airport, Amodeo’s home airport near Poughkeepsie, New York. She had experienced a whirlwind day of surprises, which began in Atlanta.Karoline Amodeo wins the Archer—and our hearts.
In an elaborate ruse that Amodeo believed was a special opportunity to attend the International Women in Aviation conference courtesy of AOPA, the event began with Amodeo helping to staff the AOPA booth at the conference and speaking to a group of college-bound aviation-career hopefuls. With boundless enthusiasm and remarkable grace, Amodeo assumed what she thought was her role at the conference. Meeting Fuller for the first time Saturday morning, she agreed to join him onstage for what he called a special announcement—Amodeo dashed upstairs to her hotel room to quickly change into her suit.
Before an audience of about 1,000 people, Amodeo held up a model of an Archer—silently thinking maybe AOPA would let her keep the model—and listened as Fuller announced her name as the sweepstakes winner. It was the best-kept secret in aviation history—Amodeo was speechless. When her parents appeared on screen from Poughkeepsie with the real Archer, Amodeo couldn’t contain herself. “May I hug you?” she asked Fuller.
After a flight to Poughkeepsie in AOPA’s N4GA with Fuller and AOPA staffers, which was marked by joyous laughter, Amodeo bounded out of the aircraft to the welcoming reception of family and friends—and her new airplane. For more of the story, read “ President’s Position: A Refreshing Story.”