Missouri Pilot Opts for Cash in Ultimate FLYING Giveaway

An initially skeptical Craig Enz claims a $100,000 grand prize.

Craig Enz in the right seat of the Hawker 800 he flies. [Courtesy: Craig Enz]

The Ultimate FLYING Giveaway is in the books for 2024, and the winner is Craig Enz of Missouri.

Enz started his flying adventure with a discovery flight in 2010. At the time, his career in construction management (and graduate school) made it challenging to pound out flight training, but he stuck with it. While moving around the country for work, he continued his flight training at locations in Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, and Colorado, eventually persevering from private to CFII.

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought construction projects to a halt, Enz found himself at a crossroad with a decision to make: Embark on a totally new career as a licensed financial planner or figure out how to make flying pay the bills better than it did as a CFI. He chose the road that eventually led him to flying Part 135 and Part 91 operations in a Hawker 800. 

Enz had already been a FLYING Magazine subscriber for a few years when the Ultimate Giveaway was conceived. As a loyal subscriber, he was automatically, if not unwittingly, entered in the sweepstakes. And you already know how this ends—he won, albeit somewhat reluctantly.

FLYING staff reached out to Enz to share the wonderful news of his good fortune in April. Having received the notification just the day before his PIC check ride for the Hawker 800, he had other things on his mind and believed he was “being scammed.” His email response to being notified that he won a sweepstake  he didn't realize he’d entered was simply “not interested.”

After a bit of convincing, some due diligence, and vetting, Enz came around to the realization that this was not too good to be true and, in fact, he had arrived at yet another crossroad: Take delivery of a new aircraft or laugh all the way to the bank.

Craig Enz, age 8, feeling at home in the cockpit of a TWA flight, wearing the captain’s hat. [Courtesy: Craig Enz]

At this point in his flying career, owning a light aircraft isn't in the cards as a busy, often out-of-town professional pilot slipping through the flight levels in a Hawker spooled up to 0.65 Mach. 

Fortunately, the Ultimate Giveaway, unlike other sweepstakes, afforded the winner an opportunity to choose between two very cool aircraft—a Tecnam Astore and an ICON A-5—or cash out with a truckload of legal tender. As you might imagine, since Enz hails from the Show Me State, he followed the lead of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character Rod Tidwell in the 1996 movie Jerry Maquire and opted for FLYING to “Show me the money.”

The $100,000 cash option was the best fit for Enz. That makes perfect sense because we all know what makes an aircraft fly—money. He did mention the idea of possibly using some of his winnings to pursue a seaplane endorsement. As you’ll soon read in the July/August issue of FLYING Magazine, many pilots have an attraction to water, so adding a SES rating is a common bucket-list item.

We congratulate Enz on his good fortune and wish him well in his professional and recreational flying career. We also thank everyone who participated in the Ultimate Giveaway, even if you weren’t aware that you did, we’re looking out for you. Afterall, who wouldn’t like to get a call from FLYING notifying you that you just won a new aircraft?

Stay tuned, something fun is always just over the horizon—it will no doubt be equally exciting. That hardest part will be determining what to call it so it surpasses Ultimate.

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