Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AOPA Favorite Aircraft Challenge:
The match-ups are NOT set up by AOPA staffers

As I provide coverage of AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge, I have been fed comments that voters add when they cast their votes. And one constant I've seen in these comments is that certain match-ups are all wrong, that an Aeronca Champ should not be in a voting contest against the P-51 Mustang. Or that a Pilatus PC-12 should never have been set up against the F4U Corsair.

What people who are following this challenge needs to know is that it is the will of the people who are voting in the challenge that are setting up all of the pairings beyond the first round. Here's how this is coming down:
AOPA eMedia team members did initially rank the aircraft in each regional as seeded #1 through #16. Just like the real NCAA tournament, #1 “plays” #16, #2 “plays” #15, etc. The winners of these contests move on, and are then matched-up with winners of other contests solely depending on the outcome of the voting. From round two through to the finals, AOPA staff has zero say in what aircraft get matched up with others, it's simply a numbers game...most votes wins.
Now I will be one of the many who will say that there were some crazy initial pairings, but others that seemed quite logical. The Husky A1-C versus Eclipse 500 was a strange one, as was the King Air versus Flight Design CTLS. The deHavilland Beaver against the Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus was an awful pairing, and the P-51 versus Glasair III was questionable. But the Cessna Mustang versus Embraer Phenon 100/300 make perfect sense as did the Lake Amphibian versus Seabee. 

So as you go here to vote in the next few days, don't grumble because you don't think a Bonanza against the mighty DC-3 is a fair fight. That's how the voting came down, simple and true.

The four remaining “round of eight” contests are all great ones, with the P-51 versus F4U Corsair a battle royale, and the Piper J-3 Cub against the Beech Staggerwing a great pairing between two awesome vintage airplanes. The Beechcraft Bonanza has proven very popular in voting, so much so that it has ended up facing the DC-3, which has crushed all opponents so far. The West regional voting produced a Cessna 182 versus deHavilland Beaver contest that does seem lopsided. But again, everyone must resist the temptation to gripe about these pairings...they are what they are, based only on YOUR votes..hard data and nothing else.

In case you want to stay tuned and get in on the fun, voting in the round of eight is Thursday, March 29th only, with the “Four on Final” voting set for Friday and Saturday, March 30 & 31. Check it all out here.