Skies may have been cloudy and rain may have poured at Batavia, Ohio’s Clermont County Airport on May 16, but spirits were high at Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s fifth annual fly-in. The event was topped off by an award ceremony that gave away a brand-new 2009 Cessna Skyhawk—complete with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite featuring synthetic vision technology (SVT).
The lucky winner was Stephen Brenneke, an orthopedic surgeon based in Portland, Ore. After a drawing, Sporty’s President Mike Wolf made the momentous phone call from a podium in Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s main lobby. Above the assembled crowd was the sweepstakes Cessna 172, parked 15 feet up on an elevated parking stand. Shortly before, Wolf surreptitiously called Brenneke’s wife to make sure that the winner would be near the phone when the call came.
“Really?” Brenneke said in disbelief. “I mean I’ve never won anything before in my life.”
“Yes, you’re the potential winner,” Wolf said.
“What do you mean potential?” Brenneke wondered.
“Well, you have to sign some paperwork—which we’ll FedEx to you overnight—and then it’s official,” Wolf explained. You could hear a sigh of relief from the other end of the line.
Brenneke flies a Piper Malibu DLX turboprop, and virtually all of the 150 hours he flies annually are for business. Brenneke qualified for the sweepstakes airplane by purchasing some en route instrument charts. Anyone who purchases from Sporty’s Pilot Shop is in the running for the annual sweepstakes giveaway.
The fly-in was well attended in spite of the weather, with many flying instrument approaches to Clermont County Airport—home of Sporty’s Pilot Shop and Sporty’s Academy. Exhibitors at the fly-in included Cessna Aircraft Company, Garmin International, Lightspeed headsets, SkyOx oxygen systems, Winslow life rafts, Aspen Avionics, Air Mod, Bose headsets, and many others.
Air Mod’s Dennis Wolter (right) with a customer.
AOPA President Craig Fuller was on hand for the festivities, having flown to Sporty’s in his 2003 Beechraft A36 Bonanza with his wife, Karen. Fuller took the stage and talked about the situation in Washington, D.C.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to counter those who continue to advocate user fees as a means of financing the aviation infrastructure of the future,” Fuller said. “But I remain hopeful that the strength of AOPA’s membership and the strength of our ongoing lobbying efforts will bring about a satisfactory solution.”