Textron Aviation has launched its Special Olympics Airlift and is seeking aircraft and pilots to fly more than an 4,000 athletes and coaches to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida. Here, athletes arrive at the 2010 Games. Credit: Textron Aviation
Textron Aviation’s goal is to recruit 228 aircraft by Feb. 28, 2022 to fly athletes and coaches to the Orlando Executive Airport on June 4, 2022 with a return to their home bases on Jun 12. According to its website, the company has commitments for 100 aircraft with a need for an additional 128. Credit: Textron Aviation
A 'Signature Event'
Cessna Aircraft launched its first Special Olympics Airline in 1987. It has become a signature event. Textron Aviation is seeking owners and operators of Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet and Hawker aircraft for the Airlift. Credit: Textron Aviation
Miles To Travel
Athletes and coaches must travel from all over the U.S., the Caribbean and Puerto Rico to participate in the games. Often, it's the first time they have been away from home or on an aircraft. Credit: Textron Aviation
The Need For Support
Each aircraft can expect to carry from three to seven athletes plus a coach and a sponsor. The company is also seeking donations of fuel and in-kind support. https://txtav.com/airlift Credit: Textron Aviation
'A Shared Passion'
“This signature event is a unique opportunity that enables everyone, from our employees to our customers, to ignite our shared passion for lifting others up and supporting our communities by giving the athletes the joy of a once-in-a-lifetime aviation experience,” said Ron Draper, Textron Aviation president and CEO. This year, athletes from the Kansas Special Olympics visited Textron Aviation in Wichita and met with Ron Draper. Credit: Textron Aviation
Textron Aviation seeks additional aircraft for the Special Olympics Airlift.
Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.