Oops! Flightaware could have ruined AOPA's surprise


This from the AOPA web site:

Denver pilot wins AOPA Commander Countdown airplane
Stunned pilot accepts keys from Boyer

Robert Melnick, AOPA 5315783, got the surprise of a lifetime Sunday. “I’m completely flabbergasted! I’ve been following the stories in the magazine yes I have,” said Melnick of Denver, soon after being told that he was the new owner of a completely refurbished 1974 Commander 112. “I’ve never won anything.”

Melnick, 50, and his 15-year-old daughter Alexandra arrived at the Denver JetCenter at Centennial Airport on this bright and windy Sunday morning, believing they had been selected to appear in an AOPA promotional video. Within minutes, Melnick was shaking his head in disbelief as he was handed the keys to the AOPA Sweepstakes Commander Countdown airplane by AOPA President Phil Boyer…

AOPA’s ruse almost was foiled on Wednesday thanks to a discussion titled “Who won the Commander?” in one of our online forums. A member in Virginia used a flight tracking Web site and followed the airplane to Denver. Luckily, the cat stayed in the bag just long enough.

According to the buzz on the AOPA forums, the original thread mentioning the destination of the commander was actually remvoed from the website entirely. But another thread I was reading did mention Flightaware as being the source of the information. I bet next time they’ll be blocking the tail number!



Wouldn’t it be more fair to say that AOPA’s mistake in filing IFR to the real destination almost ruined it? Not sure if it was FA or not, but their IFR flight plan would have been viewable on lots of other sites, as well. Even knowing the destination, I bet there must be 10,000 AOPA members in the Denver area, and no one knew if there might be one more short flight to the “real” destination.

But I bet you are right, AOPA learned from this one and I’m sure they won’t be tracked on that final flight again! I hope they do better next time, its much better as a surprise! Maybe that 'Six in '06 will be landing at C17!


Uh DUH!!!

The guy just won a friggin’ PLANE!!!

Tell the dude, let him buy a one-way to where it’s at and fly it back himself.

If I win one…NO ONE gets to touch it before me :smiley: