AOPA’s Sweepstakes 172 turned a lot of heads at EAA AirVenture last month.
Parked front and center at the AOPA campus across from the Big Brown Arch, N739HW probably looked a little out of place among the gleaming airplanes normally on static display at AirVenture. It still has its 1970s-era paint, with new pieces of skin in different locations that yield a somewhat mottled look.
The paint–or lack of paint–endeared N379HW to many, who said they have flown (or are flying) Cessna 172s that look exactly like this.
As we told folks who came over to look at the airplane, N739HW had a date with a paint shop directly after AirVenture. And that’s where she is right now.
I flew the airplane back to Wichita, Kansas, the Monday after AirVenture. My mid-point fuel stop once again was the friendly airport in Ottumwa, Iowa (OTM), where the line folks remembered the airplane from our outbound trip and offered ice-cream sandwiches in their nicely appointed FBO. (When traveling cross-country, it doesn’t get much better than full-serve fuel, free ice cream, and a friendly face.) The weather display on the iPad mini helped me avoid some showers between Ottumwa and Wichita.
Less than a week later, N739HW was on its way to Cimarron Aircraft Corp. in El Reno, Oklahoma, and there it will stay for now. The airplane won’t be painted in time for this weekend’s AOPA Regional Fly-In at Bremerton, Washington, but we are aiming for the Battle Creek Regional Fly-In, Sept. 16-17.