Your Sweepstakes Tiger will growl once more

Since its introduction in 1974, the quick and nimble Tiger has been a standout performer in its class of 180-horsepower, four-seat, long-distance traveling machines. It earns bonus style points for its fighter-style sliding canopy, which affords amazing views and can be partially opened during flight.

Your Sweepstakes Tiger was generously donated to AOPA by Massachusetts residents Derrell Lipman and his wife, Shelley Rosenbaum Lipman. Derrell bought the Tiger in 1990 and met his future wife Shelley through an online Grumman forum a few years later. The Tiger has been at the center of their aviation adventures since.

On their final day of Tiger ownership, the Lipmans reflected on their experience with the airplane, and shared some of their hopes and dreams for its future. “It’s nimble, it’s light on the controls, it’s faster than other airplanes in its class, and it’s just fun,” said Derrell. “You can fly with the canopy open—at least part way—it’s just fun to fly.” Shelly added: “It is a really sweet handling plane. The Tiger is like a sports car. The lightness on the controls makes it so pleasant.”

Derrell said other pilots “love the visibility. You can see the ground all the time you’re flying except for shortfield takeoffs. You’ve got this full sweeping view in pretty much all aspects of flight. Most people don’t know much about these airplanes at all.”

With a cruise speed of 139 knots, the aircraft has been the perfect traveling machine for the Lipmans, taking them as far south as Mazatlán, Mexico, and as far north as Ketchikan, Alaska. They’ve flown to EAA AirVenture nine or 10 times and up and down the East Coast. Derrell lauds the Tiger’s flexible cargo space: “There’s the fact that you can fold the rear seats down to a completely flat surface. And for some of the long trips we took, that was fabulous.”

After 30 years, it was time to let the Tiger go. “We have not been flying enough recently,” said Derrell. “So, it didn’t really make sense for us to be keeping the plane. We like to donate to organizations that do good stuff. So, this just kind of fit in—it was the right thing to do.”

Big plans

The AOPA Sweepstakes Tiger has been well maintained over the years but is essentially as it left the factory in 1978. Although the instrument panel has seen some nice upgrades,

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