AOPA 172 Finds New Owner In Las Vegas


AOPA awarded its Sweepstakes Cessna 172 to its new owner, Gary Walters, at Henderson Executive Airport this week. As in past years, the sweepstakes winner was lured to meet his new airplane under false pretenses, sort of. In Walter’s case, he was expecting to meet a potential home buyer at the FBO for a possible real estate transaction. Mark Baker, AOPA president, was there to present Walters with a set of keys to a very large poster. The actual Sweepstakes 172 will be spending next week on display at Oshkosh for AirVenture 2017.

The Sweepstakes 172 has become a bit of a demonstration airplane for many of the best Supplemental Type Certificate upgrades available for the classic Cessnas. Walters’ plane began life as a 1978 Cessna 172N. After decades of use it was refurbished to like-new condition by Yingling Aviation and received a new 180-HP motor from Lycoming, but with an electronic ignition system from ElectroAir replacing one magneto. The panel is decked out with Garmin avionics: G5 attitude indicator, GTN 650 navigator, GTX 345R transponder and GI 260 angle of attack indicator. AmSafe seatbelt airbags replace the old three-point harnesses. Comparably equipped Ascend 172s refurbished by Yingling sell for about $250,000.

Walters, a pilot for Allegiant Airlines, hasn’t flown a Cessna 172 in about 25 years, but says he’s looking forward to flying to visit family in Southern California soon.