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.
left, receives the grand prize airplane from Cirrus Design's
Dale Klapmeier at the company's headquarters in Duluth,
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
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
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
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
Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus vice chairman and
co-founder, commented on the company's participation in the 2008
"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.