Local man wins plane in sweepstakes | TheUnion.com

Local man wins plane in sweepstakes

Like many people, Michael Graves got wings on Super Bowl Sunday – but his were attached to a $200,000 Cirrus SR22 airplane.

The 55-year-old Grass Valley pilot won the annual sweepstakes sponsored by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, whose president personally delivered the plane to the Alta Sierra airstrip.

“This is unreal,” said Graves. “I’m blown away.”

It’s a departure from the norm: As a FedEx pilot, Graves’ usual mode of transportation is flying Airbus A300s in Europe.

Graves’ co-worker, Jimmy Rollison, told him he wanted to see some house sites near the airstrip before watching the Super Bowl.

Rollison, who was in on the surprise, landed inside a showy Songbird III Cessna 310.

Following closely behind was AOPA President Craig Fuller behind the throttle of the prize plane.

Graves wasn’t sure what was happening until Fuller handed him the plane’s keys.

“It’s a fantastic flying airplane,” Graves said after taking a test flight Sunday while his wife, LaDona, and 13-year-old daughter Ariel looked on. “It’s going to take some getting use to, but I already know we’re going to love it.”

The Union Staff Writer Michelle Rindels contributed to this report.

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