FedEx Captain Wins AOPA Sweepstakes SR22
It's not every day that a film crew flies into the Alta Sierra residential airpark east of Sacramento but Michael Graves had been so thoroughly lured into the story, he didn't have a clue that he would be the star of the show. Graves was the victim and beneficiary of an elaborate ruse that ultimately resulted in him flying away in a 2005 Cirrus SR22 as the winner of AOPA's annual Let's Go Flying Sweepstakes. "It's a fantastic flying airplane," Graves said. "It's going to take some getting used to, but I already know we're going to love it." Graves owns a Cessna 180 and is a FedEx captain on A300s overseas.
The airplane is a mint-condition SR22 that was donated to AOPA for the sweepstakes by philanthropist and longtime pilot Lloyd Huck who wanted to promote awareness and interest in aviation and expand the pilot population. AOPA President Craig Fuller enlisted help from Graves' coworker Jimmy Rollison to fly the Sky King Cessna 310 Songbird III under the pretext of shooting video against the backdrop of the local mountains. The Cirrus played the role of the camera plane until Fuller dropped the bombshell on Graves. Graves, his wife LaDona and daughter Ariel are already planning trips for the aircraft.