Brad Sunshine with 739HWN739HW is at Yingling Aviation in Wichita, but she’s almost ready to come back to Maryland. I will be heading to Wichita next week to bring her back to the East Coast.

In the meantime, I had a lovely email from an AOPA member who used to fly 739HW in the mid-1990s when our sweepstakes 172  was a trainer based at Haysfield Airport.

Brad Sunshine has nothing but fond memories of those days. “The airport was special in its own right,” he said of the now-closed Haysfield. “The aircraft only enriched its charm.” N739HW occupied the sloped turf’s final parking spot, he recalled. Aside from the owner, Tom Johnson, “not many people flew the extremely reliable aircraft,” he said. “It was always available when I wanted to add another cross-country to my logbook.” The photo is Brad as an earnest-looking young man standing in front of 739HW.

Brad grew up in Maryland and soloed at Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK–AOPA’s home base). He took his private pilot and instrument checkrides here with our longtime DPE Annabelle Fera, who has since retired.

Brad now flies for a Fortune 50 corporate flight department and has called the Chicago area home for many years. He loves harking back to his aviation roots by reading about our Sweepstakes 172. “[A]ll these years later, the aircraft remains an enduring component of my flying passion and experiences,” he said. “As an AOPA member, I take comfort knowing that I at least have a shot (albeit a very small one) at reuniting with N739HW.”

Thank you to Brad for reaching out! I hope he’ll get a chance to see the airplane before we announce the winner in 2017.

Learn more about how you could win a Cessna 172 in the AOPA 172 Sweepstakes.