Pilots follow every AOPA Sweepstakes airplane restoration—not just because they dream of winning an airplane—but because they also get ideas for upgrading their own aircraft.
These recent AOPA Sweepstakes projects were completely refurbished with power and speed modifications, new instruments and interiors, and fresh custom-designed paint schemes. Take a look back and get ideas from your favorite project.
This was the first experimental category aircraft AOPA has featured as a sweepstakes aircraft. The 18-month project transformed a 12-year-old kit-built yellow RV–10 into a sleek red-and-black speedster that showcases the aircraft’s performance, fuel economy, and innovation. The panel is decked out for IFR flight and features an Avidyne IFD550 GPS/com.
The Piper PA–18 Super Cub was upgraded with more than 30 supplemental type certificates to increase its performance, including a gross weight increase, vortex generator kit with tail strake, larger fuel tanks, and LED wig-wag lights. Its new Lycoming O-320 160-horsepower engine featured electronic ignition. The highlight of this project was to demonstrate the Super Cub’s versatility, so AOPA gave it away with three sets of gear—amphibious floats, hydraulic skis, and tundra tires.
The Cessna Skyhawk is one of the most popular aircraft out there, so AOPA fixed one up to show just how much can be done to this all-around great airplane. AOPA upgraded the 160-horsepower Lycoming O-320 to a 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360 and added electronic ignition. Wheel pants, fairing, and other modifications were added to reduce drag, while vortex generators were added to improve handling at slower speeds. Non-required safety enhancing equipment, including the Garmin GI-260 angle of attack indicator and an iPad mount, was also added.
AOPA boosted the Debonair’s power from 225 horsepower to 260 horsepower, added tip tanks to increase range, and of course gave it a new interior and paint. But what wowed pilots during its restoration in 2013 and 2014 was the panel fitted with a three-screen Aspen Evolution suite and Garmin’s GTN 750 and GTN 650 GPS/nav/coms.
The Skylane’s remanufactured Continental IO-550D 300-horsepower engine and new Hartzell three-blade prop increased its speed, while tip tanks increased its range. AOPA upgraded it with an IFR panel and autopilot. But the interior on this one was above and beyond: leather side panels and seats with the sweepstakes theme, Crossover Classic, on the seats.