The AOPA Sweepstakes 172 is getting its paint job. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The AOPA Sweepstakes 172 is getting its paint job. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The AOPA Sweepstakes 172 sat out our Bremerton, Washington, Regional Fly-In because she had a date with a paint shop.

In just more than a week, we’ll be putting on another fly-in—on Sept. 17 at W.K. Kellogg Airport (BKL) in Battle Creek, Michigan. And I really want the Sweepstakes 172 to be there.

The question is, will she? H739HW has received her base coat, but the painters made an unpleasant discovery: When reinstalled, some of the control surfaces wouldn’t balance. This meant removing those control surfaces to strip and repaint.

The airplane will return to Yingling Aviation the week of Sept. 12, and right around then I’m Wichita-bound to fly it to Battle Creek in time for the fly-in. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather between Wichita and Battle Creek!

Incidentally, the airplane’s paint job is not complete. What you’ll see (hopefully) at Battle Creek is the stage for a fantastic design forthcoming from Craig Barnett at Scheme Designers in Cresskill, New Jersey. You’ve probably heard of Scheme Designers, because Craig has created some beautiful paint schemes and vinyl designs for many of our previous sweepstakes airplanes, including 2011’s Crossover Classic 182, the 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Husky, the 2014 Beech Debonair, and most recently the You Can Fly Cessna 152.  (See all of the designs here. Which one was your favorite?)

Scheme Designers’ work is so sought after that, unfortunately, it sometimes is unlawfully copied. Dave Hirschman’s excellent article here explains the impact of copyright infringement on Scheme Designers.