Bay Area pilot wins airplane from largest pilot organization in U.S.

Bay Area

LIVERMORE, Calif. (KRON) – A Bay Area pilot got a big surprise over the weekend — He won an airplane!

The best part is, he had no idea what was going on when he showed up at the Livermore Airport.

Aaron Benedetti didn’t think much of checking out a shiny plane sitting on the ramp at Livermore Airport.

He knew it was the plane that was going to be given away by the largest pilot organization in the country.

Pilots everywhere were talking about it. What he didn’t know was it was about to become his airplane.

The ruse involved his good friend and fellow pilot, who now lives in Oregon.

He said he was going to be in Livermore and wanted to meet for lunch and look at some planes.

“Uh, yeah. I’m still speechless. This is phenomenal though,” Aaron said.

Every year Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association gives away a plane to one of its 300,000 plus members.

“This plane is the first experimental airplane we’ve ever given away. It’s called an RV 10. It’s a really good airplane, very fast also for people to get plenty of fuel, very modern glass panel, uh, new paint, new interior and I think this is gonna be really excited about this airplane. You can zip around at almost 180 miles,” AOPA President Mark Baker said.

This plane was built in Canada in 2007.

AOPA gave it a complete overhaul.

Aaron definitely knows how to fly. He’s a United Airlines Captain on the Dreamliner 787 but as he nears retirement, he says he’s now looking forward to flying adventures closer to home.

“This will be great. I have my wife, uh, and camping gear will fit nicely in this,” Aaron said.

“People still want to move around and need to move around for certain reasons. This is another alternative to your automobile. People just jumped in and said, I really just want to go fly much like they’re doing with RVs or boats. So what are the alternatives is fine and be surprised how affordable it is,” Baker said.

Aaron says he’s never won anything before.

“I’ve always considered myself extremely unlucky when it comes to, uh, you know, winning stuff or entering stuff or buying a ticket,” Aaron said.

Seems he’s pretty lucky after all.

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