If you’re up for an adventure that will improve your piloting skills, Hartzell Propeller’s “Trailblazer Sweepstakes” could take your flying to the next level—that is, if you win. The sweepstakes offers an expenses-paid backcountry flying adventure for two, or a seaplane excursion and opportunity to earn a seaplane rating.
The Recreational Aviation Foundation and Seaplane Pilots Association partnered with Hartzell to offer the sweepstakes, its prizes are valued at $4,000, according to the official rules. Hartzell aims to show off its Trailblazer "carbon fiber composite prop specifically designed for takeoff and climb performance."
You must be at least 21 years old, have “an active pilot’s license and medical clearance,” and be a legal resident of the United States in order to enter. Just fill out a short form on Hartzell’s website that asks for name, email address, phone number, and mailing address (there’s also an option to like Hartzell’s Facebook page), or enter in person at a number of aviation events this spring and summer. Hartzell will accept in-person entries at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo through April 26; the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering, May 2 and 3; the Valdez Fly-In and Airshow, May 9 and 10; and “the first few days at EAA AirVenture” because the winner will be picked at random on July 29 during the show.
In the May 2015 issues of AOPA Pilot, AOPA Editor at Large Dave Hirschman lifts the curtain on a “quirky gathering in the Idaho wilderness” that backcountry pilots flock to each year. While the “Trailblazer Sweepstakes” doesn’t detail the backcountry flying adventure, Hirschman’s story about the National Bushwheel Awareness Week annual gathering will give you an idea of the to be had flying through mountain valleys and into remote strips.
While you (well, the winner, but it could be you) enjoy some fun in the mountains or on the water, you’ll also be learning a thing or two that you can apply to your everyday flying. In March, AOPA Opinion Leaders blogger Rob Mark recounted the lessons he learned from tailwheel and seaplane training: “The point of convincing you to give a taildragger or a seaplane rating a try is of course, both are fun. But both also require the pilot to control the aircraft very precisely at times. The first few hours will be real work, but after that you’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll fly these and any other airplane.”
If you do win, you’ll not only have fun and become a better pilot, but you’ll probably make most your buddies at the airport a little jealous!