Canadian Homebuilt AOPA’s Prize Plane

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has chosen a Canadian homebuilt that has weathered a half dozen prairie winters as its annual sweepstakes aircraft. AOPA editor Dave Hirschmann traveled from AOPA headquarters in relatively balmy Frederick, Maryland to Estevan, Saskatchewan in January to pick up the canary yellow RV-10 from Rod Benning, an Estevan trucking company owner. “This airplane was built in 2007 and it’s been flown regularly and well maintained during the time I’ve owned it,” Benning told AOPA.“But as you can see from the chips in the paint (where gravel hit the leading edges), the airplane hasn’t been babied. I learned to fly in it, and so did my partner, so it’s done more than its share of takeoffs and landings—and not all of them were things of beauty, if you know what I mean.”

AOPA was looking for a platform that would illustrate how homebuilts can give great value and offer technological advances that many certified planes can’t match. The aircraft is getting a thorough refurbishing in Frederick, including a new state-of-the-art panel. Benning said he bought the airplane so he could conveniently visit his daughter in Edmonton, about 600 miles from Estevan. She’s since moved closer to home so the plane has no practical purpose for Benning. “I know that if I keep the airplane it’ll end up sitting in a hangar, and that’s no good,” Benning said. “Better to let it go where it will keep flying.”