AOPA 2022 Tiger Sweepstakes Winner Surprised!

AOPA 2022 Sweepstakes Tiger on display at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022.
Dave Weiman Photo

Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine October/November 2022 Digital Issue

PETALUMA, CALIF. – Under the guise of an interview about backcountry flying, avid pilot Alex Browne found himself completely speechless when AOPA President Mark Baker delivered the news that he had won the AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger, July 15.

Browne, an AOPA member since the age of 16, owns a modified Cessna 185 that he flys in the backcountry in California and elsewhere. AOPA Director of Photography Chris Rose was accompanying Baker for the interview. Little did 33-year-old Browne know, AOPA President Mark Baker and AOPA Senior Vice President of Media and Marketing, Kollin Stagnito, were hiding just out of sight eagerly awaiting the signal to step in.

Already surprised by Baker’s sudden appearance, the shock set in as Baker explained that Browne was now the proud owner of the Grumman Tiger and presented him with the aircraft’s Tin Tail Numbers sign. “Whoa, WHOA, WHAT?! No…I’m blown away!” Browne exclaimed. “This is like the first thing I’ve actually won!”

Browne was quick to call his wife to share the good news, “I uhh..I just won a plane…the AOPA sweepstakes, the giveaway of the Grumman Tiger.” Browne’s wife, Soraya, knew the aircraft, and after confirming the aircraft was the same one to grace the cover of a recent AOPA Pilot magazine a few months prior, exclaimed, “I’m speechless!” before heading to the airport with their son, Cal, to celebrate.

Along with winning the Tiger, AOPA hosted Browne and his family at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin, a trip that Browne said was on his bucket list, so he could meet his new aircraft for the first time.

The Grumman Tiger is nearly unrecognizable since its inside-and-out transformation and is truly one of a kind.

The sweepstakes drawing (for the aircraft and other prizes) is completely random. Sweepstakes administrator Ventura Associates International LLC in New York City handles the drawing and sends AOPA randomly selected entrants’ names with the prize assigned to each, so AOPA can deliver the prizes.

Browne, a commercial pilot, started taking flying lessons when he was 14 years old and earned his private pilot certificate before getting his driver’s license. A passionate outdoorsman, Browne has become adept at flying in the backcountry in his Cessna 185. Of his new Grumman Tiger, he said, “I see this as an opportunity to give back and help boost aviation within the local community. I’m hoping to get more people involved in aviation—the first being my wife!”

“The experience of being surprised by Mark Baker,” Browne said, “was one I’ll never forget. I’m a huge fan of him and everything he has done to promote backcountry flying. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have the opportunity to meet Mark in person, let alone have him stand in my hangar!

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