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Old 02-07-2010, 05:31 PM   #1  
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Default FedEx Captain wins new Cirrus

And I was holding out for this one!

Cirrus-size surprise for member on Super Bowl Sunday

Little did AOPA member Michael Graves know that taking time out of his Super Bowl party preparations to help a coworker would land him with the surprise of a lifetime: AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Let’s Go Flying Cirrus SR22.

“Unbelievable! Awesome,” the 55-year-old Grass Valley, Calif., resident exclaimed while his wife LaDona, 13-year-old daughter Ariel, and friends who had gathered nearby screamed with excitement.

Graves, a FedEx captain who flies Airbus A300s primarily within Europe, lives at Alta Sierra, a residential airpark in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. His coworker, Jimmy Rollison, had asked to look at some house sites on the airpark before the big game. Unbeknownst to Graves, Rollison was in on AOPA’s plan to surprise him with the Cirrus.

To Graves’ delight, Rollison flew in to the airpark in the “Sky King” Songbird III Cessna 310, ostensibly for a photo shoot of the famed airplane at the tiny field. Graves sounded like “Chatty Kathy” as the two talked about the twin, according to his wife.

That alone would have made Graves’ day. But AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman soon followed the Songbird III, landing in the Let’s Go Flying Cirrus. After the SR22 arrived, Graves marshaled it in himself, thinking it was the chase plane for the Songbird III. When Fuller got out of the Cirrus, Graves said, “You look so familiar.” But, even after Fuller introduced himself, Graves was still clueless.

“I heard you were doing some filming out here today,” Fuller said, continuing with the ruse. He told Graves that he had wanted to stop by to watch some of the filming and had two gifts for him. The first was an AOPA Challenge Coin representing the association’s recent seventieth anniversary. Then, Fuller proceeded to explain to Graves that AOPA gives away a sweepstakes airplane every year, to which Graves immediately responded that he read all about the airplanes in the magazine. (Yes, he was still clueless.)

“The second thing I want to give you is the key to the airplane,” Fuller said. “You’re the winner!”

“This just takes the cake!” Graves said later, still in shock.

A longtime AOPA member, Graves had signed up for automatic AOPA membership renewals, which rewarded him handsomely.

“You signed up for Automatic Annual Renewal, and that got you a bunch of extra entries,” explained Hirschman. The winning sweepstakes entry turned out to be one of the bonus entries that Graves received by signing up for automatic renewals.

“This is unreal,” Graves said. “I’m blown away.”

Graves’ passion for flying spans the aviation gamut. While he flies A300s for a living, he owns a Cessna 180 and sometimes uses it to commute to work at Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, a flight of less than one hour from his rural home. The airlines and general aviation have had some sharp disagreements in recent years over issues such as user fees, but pilots like Graves bridge the gap between what sometimes seem like two different aviation worlds.
First flight
Shortly after the reveal, Graves and Hirschman flew the Cirrus SR22 out of the 50-foot-wide strip for that magical first flight. Read more >>
‘Sky King’s’ Songbird III leads scheme
In an effort to explain away the presence of a video crew that arrived at the airstrip to record the giveaway, Rollison decided to fly to Alta Sierra in a well-known and beloved airplane—the Songbird III Cessna 310 from the 1950s "Sky King" TV show. Read more >>
A flying billboard
Philanthropist and veteran pilot Lloyd Huck donated the Let's Go Flying SR22, asking that AOPA use the airplane to build interest in aviation's exciting possibilities and expand the U.S. pilot population. Read more >>
There’s always another chance
Don’t lose heart. AOPA’s 2010 sweepstakes is under way, and that means you have one or more chances to win our 2010 Fun to Fly Remos GX.

We’re bringing you the best of the light sport aircraft segment in our newest sweepstakes offering. The Remos GX will give the winner loads of fun in a smartly designed and efficient package. Think 100 horsepower, four to six gallons’ hourly fuel burn, and a useful load that can handle two adults and 40 pounds of baggage. Now add in up-to-date options such as leather seats, a glass panel, and a Garmin 496, and you have an economical machine that will take you places in style.

AOPA members are automatically entered in the Fun to Fly Sweepstakes. Get an extra five entries by enrolling in AOPA’s Automatic Annual Renewal program; enroll in AOPA’s Legal Services Plan or the Medical Services Program and get an additional entry. For complete sweepstakes rules, see AOPA Online. Look for blog updates and appearances of the Fun to Fly Remos on AOPA Online.

AOPA will give away the Remos GX during AOPA Aviation Summit 2010 in Long Beach, Calif.
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Old 02-07-2010, 07:44 PM   #2  
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Default Congratulations!

If he's a friend of Jimmy, he's got to be a good guy.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:39 PM   #3  
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LOL...in other news, Bill Gates wins the powerball!
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:35 PM   #4  
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Funny! I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:55 PM   #5  
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I think it's great and congratulations!!! Someone with a real love of aviation winning an airplane. Heck it could have been won by some lawyer or something!
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:39 PM   #6  
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I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Graves when I js'd on his aircraft last month. What an absolute class act! Congratulations, SD
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:04 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deuce130 View Post
LOL...in other news, Bill Gates wins the powerball!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burgenflyer View Post
Funny! I was thinking the same thing.
You two are really something. Life must really suck to be you.

Conversely, congratulations to Michael Graves. Enjoy your new toy.

JJ
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:14 AM   #8  
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Congratulations to MG. Must have been neat for Dave Hirschman to be involved with giving away a bird to a FedEx guy. Dave use to be the business editor here in Memphis and still has close ties with many of us. Use to fly his aerobatic out at Val and Jim's.

I for one am glad that if I didn't win it one of us did, especially an ambassador for flying like MG because that was why the plane was donated for the sweepstakes in the first place. Sometimes there is karma in the world.
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Old 02-08-2010, 05:45 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetjok View Post
You two are really something. Life must really suck to be you.

Conversely, congratulations to Michael Graves. Enjoy your new toy.

JJ
Agreed, Congratulations!
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:17 AM   #10  
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I thought it was a great story as well! Didn't mean to ruffle your feathers JetJok. Who wouldn't love to win that plane! Congrats.
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