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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedEAA Sweepstakes Winner Claims His Prize
  

Greg Thompson, center, winner of the Cirrus SR20 in the 2008 EAA Sweepstakes, is congratulated by EAA 's Elisa Lines Thursday. Thompson and Brian Quarles, UND Aerospace Cirrus Factory Instructor, flew from Duluth to Oshkosh on a transition training flight.

Greg Thompson. left, receives the grand prize airplane from Cirrus Design's Dale Klapmeier at the company's headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota.

Over the past decade or so, Greg Thompson and his wife, Esme, have attended AirVenture Oshkosh every year. However, a business trip conflicted with the 2008 convention dates, so they couldn't come. As he does every year, Thompson, of Fairfax, Virginia, entered the EAA Share the Spirit Sweepstakes using the entry coupons received in Sport Aviation. This year's Grand Prize: a new Cirrus SR20.

Thompson won the sweepstakes and on Wednesday, September 3, was at Cirrus headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota, to pick up his brand new airplane. "I'm still quite dumbfounded about it," he said. "I never in my wildest dreams expected to win."

On Sunday night, August 3, closing day of AirVenture, he received a call from a friend who had just seen the list of sweepstakes winners drawn earlier that day on www.AirVenture.org.

"He asked if I had won a Cirrus," Thompson explained. "He told me that a Greg Thompson from Fairfax, Virginia, was listed as the winner." Thompson's initial thought was that it had to be someone with the same name - like being given another person's clothes at the dry cleaners - but when the friend read back Thompson's EAA number - 652822 - he realized it was true. About 20 minutes later he got a call from EAA confirming the great news.

Thompson earned his private pilot certificate about five years ago, but did not fly regularly until a few months back when he relocated to Virginia. He began flying more regularly through the Manassas Regional Airport-based Aviation Adventures, and had recently begun considering the purchase of a used airplane.

Entering the sweepstakes was a no-brainer, Thompson said, but he was not motivated to do so solely by the grand prize. "We feel that the EAA and the Young Eagles program are fabulous and so we're always glad to support them," he said. "Entering the sweepstakes was simply another opportunity to do so."

Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus vice chairman and co-founder, commented on the company's participation in the 2008 sweepstakes.

"Alan (Klapmeier) and I got started with EAA growing up and going to the convention each year in Oshkosh," he said. "They've been a big part of our life and our career. We need to introduce more kids to airplanes and flying. We are fortunate Cirrus is at a point where we can make a contribution to help to just that, get kids to the airport and expose them to the wonderful world of aviation."

Thompson is spending this week in transition training at Cirrus, then plans to fly with his instructor back to Virginia over the weekend. They flew into Oshkosh on Thursday from Duluth on his first training flight.

"I'm still dumbfounded about it," he said.

 
 

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