The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will publicly debut its 2007 Catch-A-Cardinal Sweepstakes airplane at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., April 17-23. And it will be the most unusual AOPA sweepstakes debut ever.
"The Cardinal will be on display as no other AOPA sweepstakes airplane has been - open right down to the belly skins," said Julie Boatman, project manager and AOPA Pilot technical editor. "This is a unique opportunity for all pilots to see its inner workings for a better understanding of airplanes and the mechanics involved in restoring them."
The 1977 Cessna Cardinal 177B will be freshly painted and will have a factory overhauled Lycoming O-360-A1FB engine and a completely upgraded panel.
But the fun begins when you see what the plane is missing. The doors will be removed, the inside will be stripped down to the floorboards, and the cowling will be off. Everyone will want to stop by AOPA's Big Yellow Tent at the show to have the unique experience of seeing what is on the inside of an airplane, how the flight controls work, and how the airplane is structurally put together.
In addition, AOPA members are encouraged to become a lasting part of the project by signing a floorboard. Two of them will be on display outside of the airplane throughout the week of Sun 'n Fun.
Power will be hooked up to the plane so visitors can see the avionics, which were chosen for their ease of use and popularity among pilots. The following are among the avionics on the upgraded panel: dual Garmin GNS 430 Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)-capable Global Positioning Systems (GPSs); Garmin GDL 90 datalink with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) capability; L-3 Communications Avionics Systems Stormscope lightning detector; J.P. Instruments engine monitor; Honeywell Bendix/King horizontal situation indicator (HSI); and S-Tec autopilot.
Representatives of three major contributors - The AvNet, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Sarasota Avionics International - will be on site throughout the week of Sun 'n Fun to answer questions and talk about the Cardinal and its process of refurbishment. In addition, more than 30 contributors will be exhibiting at Sun 'n Fun. Be sure to stop by their booths; they will each be displaying an AOPA sign recognizing their contributions to the AOPA Catch-A-Cardinal project. A complete list of contributors is online at www.aopa.org/sweeps/contributors.html.
Boatman will join representatives of the Cardinal Flyers type club and Cessna Aircraft Company on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21, for hangar sessions at Sun 'n Fun. Visitors to AOPA's Big Yellow Tent can participate in discussions about the updates that have been performed on the aircraft and what is yet to come in the yearlong refurbishment project.
All pilots can follow the Cardinal's progress by visiting the sweepstakes Web page ( www.aopa.org/sweeps/), which is updated regularly. Monthly features will also appear in AOPA Pilot magazine throughout the year.
The 411,000-member AOPA has represented the interests of general aviation pilots since 1939. Nearly two-thirds of all U.S. pilots, and three-quarters of the GA pilots, are AOPA members.
April 9, 2007