Montana companies refurbish popular AOPA sweepstakes airplane

AOPA’s 2019 Sweepstakes Super Cub giveaway airplane – one of the most popular in the association’s history – has deep roots in Montana.

In the 1990s, the Piper PA-18 was used as a year-round ranching tool. Montana ranch owner and pilot Bill Allison, known for his exquisite saddlery, flew the Super Cub on tires in the summer and skis in the winter to survey water lines and livestock on his ranch near the Tongue River outside Miles City, cutting what would have been six hours of driving a day into 35 minutes of flying.

In 1997, Allison and his wife were in an accident in the Super Cub shortly after takeoff. The two survived with minor injuries, but the airplane was heavily damaged. A mechanic purchased the aircraft but let it sit for years. Roger Meggers, owner of Baker Air Service in eastern Montana, eventually bought the airplane and restored it as the AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub in 2017 and 2018.

Roger and his son, Darin, spent about 2,000 hours meticulously restoring the aircraft and applying more than 30 supplemental type certificates to enhance its performance. The poly-fiber fabric covering and high-gloss Lock Haven Yellow paint are so smooth that pilots can’t resist touching the airplane.

The Super Cub’s cockpit is as impressive as the exterior, with carbon-fiber panels, leather seats, and a modern instrument panel. The experts at Aerotronics in Billings spent nearly 400 hours designing, cutting, and helping to install the panel. The panel is only three-sixteenths of an inch taller than the original yet is packed with state-of-the-art avionics including a Garmin aera 660 touch-screen GPS, two G5 electronic flight instruments, a radio and ADS-B-compliant transponder, and a J.P. Instruments EDM 900 an all-in-one digital engine monitor.

After the impeccable restoration by Baker Air Service and Aerotronics was complete, AOPA flew the Super Cub to Florida to debut it at Sun ‘n Fun in April 2018. But, it wasn’t long before the yellow Super Cub made its way back to its beloved state. The AOPA Fly-In at Missoula just a few months later in June proved a perfect opportunity to show it off to Montana’s pilots. Everyone who saw it was excited by the prospect of winning it and the three sets of landing gear that come with it: 26-inch Alaskan Bushweel tundra tires, Wipaire Wipline AirGlide hydraulic skis, and Wipline 2100 amphibious floats. Several pilots noted ways they would put all three sets of gear to use.

The sweepstakes entry period ends May 31 this year. Will it end up coming back “home” to Montana? We’ll know this summer!

To learn more about the sweepstakes and its official rules and ways to enter, and to see the aircraft’s step-by-step restoration, visit www.aopa.org/sweeps.

      



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