Before I get to the topic at hand, let me give some background on how things unfolded. My good friend Roy Wilbanks was out at the airport on Monday morning updating his GARMIN GPS databases when a slick Globe Swift taxied up to the FBO. Roy stepped outside to get a closer look and struck up a conversation with the gentleman who had flown her in. During the conversation, Roy asked where he flew from and where he was headed. "I came from Griffin, Georgia" said the gentleman. "Griffin, Georgia!" Roy exclaimed. "That’s where that AOPA Cardinal is!" The man agreed. "Yes and my wife is in charge of that aircraft." It turns out the gentleman is the husband of Julie K. Boatman, technical editor for AOPA Pilot magazine, and project lead for the Catch-A-Cardinal sweepstakes plane. Roy then proceeded to let Mr. Boatman know that he was the recipient of the 2004 AOPA Win-A-Twin Comanche. Mr. Boatman had dropped Julie off in Griffin and was on his way back to Frederick, Maryland. It was blind luck that he stopped in Greenwood at the very moment that Roy was there.
Roy calls me and says that he wants to fly over to Griffin to see the Cardinal and meet Julie. Christy Lake had been under the weather earlier in the week, but she was okay to go to daycare and I had finished all of my household duties, so I was in the clear to ride along this morning. So we hopped into N204WT and took off.
Skies were clear with visibility around 10 miles, so we flew VFR.
When we arrived in Griffin, it was pretty easy to spot the Cardinal from the ramp, so we pulled up and parked next to the hangar. The Cardinal is currently getting an engine overhaul and other structural modifications and refinements.
Here you can see the thousands of signatures that were gathered at Sun-n-Fun. Jim Rhoads from Flight1 was one of the signatures I saw pretty clearly.
Roy and Julie posed while I grabbed a couple pictures of them together in front of the two aircraft.
On the flight back to Greenwood, we were greeted by numerous clouds that were hovering around our cruising altitude of 5,500 feet. It was great fun weaving around them to stay VFR legal. Check out how the prop looks like it is bent in my photograph. Pretty cool, eh?
It is not everyday you get to meet someone as famous in the aviation community as Julie K. Boatman. For the three years that I have been an AOPA member, I have enjoyed reading her articles. Getting close to the Cardinal was a treat as well. It sure is shaping up to be a very nice aircraft. If you are a current member of AOPA, perhaps you’ll be getting a closer look from behind the yoke when they award it next February!