AOPA Sweepstakes Waco prepares to
depart the Fighter Factory at Suffolk
Executive Airport (SFQ) in Suffolk, Va.
Jan. 23, 2004 - The AOPA Centennial of Flight grand prize Waco is on its way to ... somewhere on the North American continent. (Did you really think we'd tell?)
Weather kept your fully restored 1940 Waco UPF-7 biplane from making it all the way back to AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., after the Centennial of Flight commemoration at Kill Devil Hills in December. So it stayed in a nice, warm hangar in Suffolk, Va., courtesy of the nice folks at the Fighter Factory, part of the Aviation Institute of Maintenance at Suffolk Executive Airport (SFQ).
The Aviation Institute of Maintenance is a leading school for budding airframe and powerplant mechanics, based at Norfolk International Airport (ORF). The Fighter Factory is part of the school's Aviation Discovery Division and specializes in restoring warbirds to flying condition.
Not long ago, Ben Redman of Rare Aircraft, the Minnesota company that restored the Sweepstakes Waco, retrieved the open-cockpit biplane and, on a bone-chilling morning, headed off on two-hour hops toward an airport known only to Ben and the AOPA Sweepstakes staff. (The Waco carries 50 gallons of fuel but burns 16 gph, so leaving a one-hour reserve makes cross-country legs about two hours each.)
Sometime in the next 45 days, one lucky pilot will be the recipient of this magnificent aircraft.
In the meantime, take a look at AOPA's Win-A-Twin Sweepstakes. Everyone who joins or renews membership in AOPA during 2004 is automatically entered for a chance to win a fully refurbished 1965 Piper Twin Comanche. It's arguably the best looking, best performing light twin ever built - and one of the easiest for pilots to transition into.
Complete rules and eligibility requirements are available online.