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AOPA’s Sweepstakes Plane Goes To California Pilot

The lucky winner of the gorgeous RV-10 has a pretty cool day job, too.


The winner of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Sweepstakes RV-10 is Aaron Bendetti, from Livermore, California. Benedetti was surprised with the plane by AOPA President Mark Baker at Livermore Municipal Airport. Three things are immediately cool about this story. First, it’s a gorgeous airplane! Congrats, Aaron. The other two are just as much fun.

One of the best parts of AOPA’s Sweepstakes, and it’s a lot of fun from start to finish, is the ruse that AOPA plays on the unsuspecting winner. In this case, Benedetti was out at the local airport to meet a friend of his, Darren Pleasance, who was actually in on the plan. The AOPA RV-10 just happened to be on the ramp at Livermore, and Baker was pretending to give an interview as Pleasance and Benedetti approached. Baker broke off the fake press chat and turned to Benedetti and told him the news. How fun is that!

Mike Collins Courtesy AOPA

The other really cool thing is that Benedetti has an amazing day job, too. He’s a captain on the Boeing 787! Funny that his airliner is composite, and his new Experimental plane is all-metal! I mean, what are the chances! Benedetti has owned a number of planes over the years, and he’s got time in an RV-7, so he gets the beauty of the RV series.

And to top it off, AOPA is springing for training for Benedetti too, in his own plane or at the Van’s factory in Oregon. (No pressure, Aaron, but do the road trip!)

Every year, AOPA gives away an airplane to a lucky member. What are they giving away next year? They won’t tell us! They do plan to make that big reveal in a couple of weeks though. 


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