As you read this, the AOPA Sweepstakes 172 is getting a new Garmin G5 installed in its panel.

But wait, you say. Didn’t the 172 have a G5 installed in 2016? Yes it did—and it was one of the first certified airplanes to get one. If you were at AirVenture 2016 or our Camarillo fly-in in April, you may have seen the first G5 installed in the airplane’s panel.

So what gives? Garmin recently obtained an STC that enables the G5 to be installed as a replacement directional gyro or horizontal situation indicator. (The G5 was STC’d in 2016 for installation as a replacement attitude indicator.)

With two G5s—each operating off the electrical system, but each including a four-hour back-up battery—that means we can scrap the vacuum system on our Sweepstakes 172.

Smart Avionics at Donegal Springs Airpark Airport (N71) in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, is completing this latest upgrade for us. The shop was humming with activity on Monday as we dropped off the 172. Smart’s Ben Travis said several clients are getting panel upgrades that incorporate ADS-B equipage.

Check out that paint

In case you missed it, the AOPA Sweepstakes 172 was the lead story in the June 15 edition of AOPA Live This Week.

The final paint is complete, thanks to the speedy and highly skilled staff at KD Aviation. They turned the job around in about two weeks, in spite of the fact that the paint scheme covered more than 60 percent of the airplane.

Aerial photography of the AOPA 2018 Sweepstake Cessna 172 Ascend with the new paint job.
AOPA NACC (FDK)
Frederick, MD USA

The final paint scheme is eye-catching, to say the least. Scheme Designers’ Craig Barnett said he was going for high visibility, given the sweepstakes 172’s metallic gray base coat, which, though stunning on the ground, could be tough to spot in flight.

We’re just a month out from EAA AirVenture and the announcement of the winner. Hope to see you there!

Aerial photography of the AOPA 2018 Sweepstake Cessna 172 Ascend with the new paint job.
AOPA NACC (FDK)
Frederick, MD USA