On the opening day of the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo, AOPA members wanted to know one thing about the Sweepstakes 172: “Will you be giving it away with this design?”
The 1978 Cessna 172N, refurbished by Yingling Aviation, has a permanent base coat enhanced by decals that describe its many upgrades, as well as motivational quotes about aviation from Amelia Earhart and Bill Gates.
“Is the key out?” a Sun ‘n Fun volunteer asked as we shut down to enter the show grounds. Told there is no key, he did a doubletake at the Sweepstakes 172. “Are they making them like that now?” The 172’s keyless ignition is thanks to the ElectroAir electronic ignition system.
AOPA members wasted no time checking out the airplane’s refurbishments, which have been chronicled in the pages of AOPA Pilot. “This is a great use for these airframes,” a member from Albuquerque, New Mexico, said. “There’s nothing wrong with them.” He had stopped by the AOPA campus to speak to the association's medical services specialists about renewing his third class medical following open heart surgery.
The airplane will be at Sun 'n Fun all week. On April 10 it departs for California, where it will stay until AOPA’s Camarillo Regional Fly-In April 28 and 29. When it returns to the East Coast, the Sweepstakes 172 will go for its final paint. The decals will come off, but the gray base coat will stay.
Scheme Designers President Craig Barnett has designed a unique new livery for the airplane that will include some elements intended to enhance its visibility in the air.
For complete details and more information about the AOPA Sweepstakes 172, see the website.