On Sunday afternoon, July 31, David Henry, EAA 166701, was at home in Perry, Oklahoma, which is more than 900 miles away from Oshkosh. But at about 2 p.m. he became the center of attention at AirVenture 2011 when he received a phone call informing him that he had just won a brand new Cessna 162 Skycatcher light-sport aircraft, the grand prize in the 2011 EAA Share the Spirit Sweepstakes.
"Initially it was disbelief," Henry said. "I asked, 'Is this for real?' I mean, this stuff just doesn't happen." The caller with the big news was George Bamman, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, winner of a Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee in the 2001 sweepstakes.
"This is turning out to be a pretty good day," he recalled telling Bamman.
As of this week, Henry, 55, hasn't decided whether he'll keep the $109,500 airplane, which comes with $5,000 for a year's worth of fuel courtesy of Shell Aviation for a total prize package worth $114,500. He'll need to come up with $28,625, or 25 percent, for federal tax.
Henry entered the sweepstakes three times via coupons received through his Sport Aviation magazine. He sent in coupons two months prior to the convention, one month prior, and finally the week before. "I didn't do anything special," said the retired fireman, fire chief, and longtime pilot. He's been flying for 33 years, joined EAA in 1981, and presently flies a Varga Kachina.
Henry's hope is to keep the airplane and fly lots of Young Eagles with it using the year's worth of fuel courtesy of Shell Aviation.
"I hope to make my decision in the next week or so," said Henry. He has until the end of the year to decide.
The SkyCatcher features everything found in Cessna's traditional single-engine aircraft, plus:
Garmin G300 glass flight deck
1,320 maximum gross weight
Teledyne Continental Motors O-200D engine
LED overhead panel lighting
Dual flight control sticks
Main landing gear made of high-strength, tapered steel tubes
Forward pivoting ergonomic seats, adjustable rudder pedals, and armrests on cabin doors
Top-hinged gull wing doors that lift up for easy entry