Raffle of vintage plane benefits Gilford youth aviation program
Members of WinnAero stand next to the Cessna 172G that they raffled on Saturday. From left, Bill Moran, Don Morrissey, Bill Seed, Duke Kline, Bob McCulla, Dan Caron, and Vlad Vascak. (DAN SEUFERT PHOTO)
GILFORD - Aviators from many generations watched as a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war drew the winning raffle ticket for a vintage airplane, a 1966 Cessna 172G valued near $40,000.
The winner of the plane was a Florida woman, Jane Williams, who was not present as retired Col. Robert W. Fortman of Pembroke drew her ticket.
But the real winners were young people in the Lakes Region that take part in one of many programs sponsored by WinnAero, a group started by a handful of area aviation enthusiasts almost three years ago with the goal of improving Lakes Region students' learning in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
WinnAero works with students at the Huot Technical Center at Laconia High School and ran its second summer Ace Academy program aimed at drawing more young people into aviation.
"Our goal is to help our students grow in the (science, technology, engineering and math) areas, because we trail the rest of the world in those areas," said WinnAero founder Bill Seed.
But the group is also interested in helping young people see aviation as a potential career as the nation faces a looming pilot shortage. Ace Academy has brought some excitement about the field to students, Seed said.
The pilot shortage is one of the reasons Fortman, 90, agreed to take part in the drawing.
"Young people have lost interest in piloting," said Fortman, a B-17 co-pilot whose plane was shot down over Germany when he was 21.
"There's a real need, so I am honored to be here."
WinnAero members decided to raffle the plane as a way to raise money to pay for their programs. They bought the plane, which had been parked at Laconia Airport for many years, at a discount and then invested time and money in making it like new again. Planes last for decades, Seed said.
"It's a beautiful plane," he said.
The raffle, which was publicized in national aviation publications, netted the group $15,000 to use in upcoming WinnAero projects, Seed said.
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Drew Cline: Rand Paul's coalition vs. Ted Cruz's army - 4
- Another View -- Jeff Goley and Will Infantine: Time for an increase in weekly benefits for NH unemployed - 4
- George Will: Understanding our divisions - 0
- Jonah Goldberg: Attorney General Eric Holder's race card - 0
- Another View -- Bobby Jindal: NH should trust parents to choose schools - 14
- Charles Arlinghaus: A $400 million hole was just blown in the state budget - 5
- Thomas Sowell: Fraudulent stats behind 'equal pay' claims - 1
- Jonah Goldberg: The left's arrogant groupthink - 0
- Rep. Adam Schroadter: Penalties for marijuana use in NH should fit the crime - 10
READER COMMENTS: 0
- College Baseball: PSU holds off Keene State - 0
- Schoop, Markakis pace Orioles past Sox - 0
- Late rally spurs Fishers over B-Mets - 0
- Datsyuk goal lets Wings take flight over Bruins in playoff opener - 0
- Monarchs finish regular season with OT loss - 0
- Keystone XL pipeline decision delayed, likely until after elections - 0
- Spring fever brings hope for U.S. investors as earnings season looms - 0
- Merrimack storage facility to be region's largest - 0
- C's lose tiebreaker for draft order - 0
Portsmouth arrests 2 for heroin sales
Decency displayed: Havenstein's nice start
Manchester superintendent kills controversial redistricting plan following parental opposition