The Crossover Classic at EAA AirVenture

Judging by the response, I’d say that 2011’s sweepstakes Cessna 182 is perhaps the most popular of all the airplanes AOPA has given away. This opinion comes via my experience standing by the sweeps Skylane for nearly seven full days at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin–an event that took place from July 25-31. In that time, I can’t tell you how many members stopped by to ogle the airplane. All were stoked by the prospect of winning it.

So what were the most common remarks? The airplane’s max cruise speed (162 KTAS) of course. But Saircorp’s center console drew a lot of admiration, as did the custom leather interior fashioned by sweeps veteran contributor Air Mod. Saircorp wasn’t at Oshkosh, but they should have been. They could have sold dozens of their modular, multifunctional consoles. Go to to see the company’s full range of offerings. The paint scheme and paint job were big hits too. Especially for those who saw the bad old, oxidized-to-the-max original paint job at Sun N’ Fun back in April.

Anyway, setup went well, with the airplane off to the side of AOPA’s main tent. There were some rather large patches of bare dirt at our tiedown spot. It didn’t take a brainiac to figure out that any (inevitable) rain would turn all that into a mud pit, so it was off to Lowe’s to buy 14 bags of Cypress mulch. Didn’t think all that would fit in the trunk of my rental (a Ford Fusion) but it did–although we had a low-rider on the way back to the site, if you know what I mean.

Next stop: Walmart. This was the only store in town with a supply of “pool noodles.” Pool noodles are those long, floatable, flexible, cylindrical toys that you can, I don’t know, wrap around yourself when frolicking in a pool. I bought six. Hot pink. Anyway, at $2 a pop, they paid for themselves many times over. Here’s why: you slit the noodles from end to end, then jam the slits onto the wing trailing edges. Now you’ve got protection against people walking into the wings and suffering from head strikes. You know, those awkward hits that yield diamond-shaped imprints on your forehead. Anyone who’s been around Cessnas knows what I’m talking about. I saw several “saves” during the week.

The visitors came hot and heavy, and helping out with plane duty were Marsh, Dave Hirschman, Ian Twombly, Jill Tallman, and Mike Collins. As you might guess, the comments often showed patterns that focused on winning the plane. Here are the most common:

*Why don’t you just give me the keys right now and get it over with.

*Take care of “my” airplane.

*You don’t need to give it away. I’m going to win it.

*How much do I have to give you to make sure you draw my name?

*I’ve been a member for ____ (fill in the blank) years, and never won. This time I’ll get it.

*What’s the retail value of all the upgrades, with labor? Answer: Just north of $400,000.

*What will I pay in taxes if I win? Answer: Tough to tell. The plane is still a 1974 Cessna 182, and will most likely be valued at the high range in Vref/Bluebook terms–and with slim regard to the retail value of the add-ons. The IRS considers the sweepstakes airplane as either a gift or income, depending on who you listen to. In any event, the tax bill should correspond to your tax bracket. If you’re in the 30-percent bracket, then you’ll pay 30-percent of its determined value. Bottom line: get a tax expert to help you here.

And on and on. After you’ve heard the comments long enough they become a platform for some pretty good jokes, and much good humor. In all, it was a great week. We got to meet members and press the flesh. The members got to lay hands on The Object Of Their Desire. A gust front with 65-mph winds did its best to wreck one day, but the airplane survived in good shape. But with a nice coating of dirt.

When you work airshows and stand by a sweepstakes airplane you get to see some odd things. Some are disconcerting when you think about all the work and time that went into the project. To channel my angst, I created a “Rain-man”-style ‘injury book” to document the insults to our/your proud Crossover Classic. Here are some entries:

*People keep trying to force open the baggage door, even though it’s locked. Result: sprung door latch, and a sign taped over the latch saying Please Don’t Touch. I’ll try to get a new latch assembly, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

*One guy pulled the airworthiness certificate, registration, radio station license, and POH out of their pockets and began reading them over. “I wanted to see what year it was” he explained.

*Someone stepped on the left main gear leg fairing, causing a scratch and a crease. This will be fixed shortly.

*A couple visitors saw fit to put their kids in the pilot’s seat. The kids were way too young to know what was going on, and yes, one of them had an ice cream cone.

*Several kids stood on the left wheel fairing.

*One guy pulled the prop through

As far as I know, AOPA is the only exhibitor who lets visitors get so up close and personal with its airplanes. After all, it will be given away, and showing off the airplane is a big part of the popular involvement with the sweepstakes. We won’t change that policy, but jeez, go easy on the old bird! After all, the next stop in the airplane’s itinerary is Hartford, Connecticut, where N182CX will be given away to a lucky winner.

We’ll see you there, between September 22 and 24!

  • Dick Moran

    Its like buying a lottery ticket; you can dream for a day or two until someone else wins. Boy, with that plane I can sure dream alot!

    • Jason Stuehrenberg

      Your not kidding, it sure would be a dream come true to win that plane but as you said, it’s just like buying a lotto ticket, the odds are very high.

  • Jesse

    That’s irksome damage. I don’t put a finger on a plane without the owner’s permission. Just ask. That’s it. Most pilots will be glad to help you look.

    I saw the plane and she’s a beauty. I can hope to win her, but I’ll be realistic 😉

  • http://justgooglemewithwordprebuy don sebastian

    Tom, you did a good, down to earth video. Enjoyed the walk around. Seat belts becoming air-bags, wow! Wish we counld find another corrision free C-182 like this one. People have called me looking for one. But, it’s a big country out there. The search could get expensive. Hope I get a ride in the bird, before giving it away. Your prebuy guy.

  • John

    Awesome. Now… if some aftermarket company could come out with the indescructable C182 firewall LOL

  • Erick Borling

    I’d sit in a pool of molten ice-cream, if that’s what it takes to be the PIC.-E

  • Daryl Davis

    Ok, but how many of you are thinking this thing through logically. I am thinking the first thing I would have to do is contact my bank and take out a 100k on it, just to make sure the taxes are covered, Plus the rest of my normal bills so I only have one bill. And the other 25k for gas…
    That’s the first year… 😉

  • Steven O’Neal

    Well it’s Aug 15th. Someone out there must be super happy!

  • Daryl Davis

    I am waiting for the announcement…. They have yet to call me 😉
    (congrats to who ever stole it from me)

  • darrin erickson

    i can’t believe the amout of foolish, ignorant people in the world! yeah, so a guy pulled on the prop. dumb, but no harm was done–luckily. another guy pulling out the certificates (potentially damaging or losing them), again, foolish but luckily, no harm or damage was done. the dumb-ass people that put their rug-rats in the pilot seat though…and with an ice-cream cone! all i can say is, whoever was in charge of watching that plane–you got alot more patience & are able to hold your tongue than i am. i would question the common-sense of the “adult” who allowed that, and if i had the authority, i’d have security escort them off the premises. and maybe the parents didn’t see their kids standing on the wheel fairings–maybe. but, if not, those fools would be thrown out too. what you guys really have to do is put a rope around the airplane and allow only one visitor at a time look at it up close, if they really want to wait in line to see it. and only one child at a time, and only with adult supervision. and the adult has to be in possesstion and produce a pilot’s license. that would at least help to reduce the frustrations that you people ALLOWED yourselves to contend with.

  • Joanna Smith

    Hey guys wait up! The drawing isn’t until September 23rd–at this year’s summit! The winner hasn’t been selected, but she’s coming!!!