Textron Aviation Recruiting Citation Owners for 2022 Special Olympics Airlift
Textron Aviation is calling on Citation owners to participate in its signature Special Olympics Airlift (SOA) event by donating aircraft, pilots and fuel to help transport athletes and coaches from across the country to the 2022 USA Games in Orlando, FL.
“Whether you recall heartfelt memories with athletes from past Airlifts, or this is your first opportunity to experience this event as a Citation owner, we hope you’ll support this industry effort,” said Steve Sperley, CJP Industry Director and Textron Aviation’s SOA Dove recruitment chairperson.
The Special Olympics Airlift last flew in 2014, shortly after the Beechcraft and Cessna brands merged to become Textron Aviation. That summer, more than 100 owners and operators donated their Citations and King Airs, along with pilots and fuel, to transport nearly 1,000 athletes and coaches from 28 locations in 22 states to Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey and back home after the week-long Special Olympics USA Games.
CJP member, past director and previous Airlift participant Russell Boyd added, “The Special Olympics Airlift is one of those precious opportunities to display the magic of aviation and the heart of aviators on a global stage. As we launched our Citation during the last Airlift, it became obvious the athletes were the ones getting a flight, but I was the one getting a lift in both mind and spirit.”
Special Olympics is well recognized as a global organization tackling inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Still, few know that there is never a fee required from the athlete or their family at any level of programming. All expenses-from facilities during training to meals and lodging during competition-are paid for by Special Olympics in hopes that no one is left on the sideline due to inability to pay.
Travel is the largest expense for state Special Olympics programs and the Airlift has provided free transportation for nearly 10,000 athletes and coaches dating back to 1987. The 2022 Special Olympics Airlift has an aggressive goal to recruit at least 228 aircraft by February 28, to transport more than 4,000 athletes and coaches to and from Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 12, for the Special Olympics USA Games, which take place every four years.
“June 2022 might sound a long way off, but as you can imagine, this is a massive logistical undertaking that requires nearly two years of planning to orchestrate,” Sperley said. “We need Citation owners to commit as early as possible so we can communicate to state delegations where we’ll have aircraft available and how many passengers we can transport. With your help, more athletes will have a chance to continue their competitive and life skills development at the USA Games.”
Visit www.txtav.com/airlift to find out more about the eighth Special Olympics Airlift and to register your Cessna Citation for the June 2022 event. The Airlift is also recruiting Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet and Hawker aircraft and will be transporting athletes and coaches from all over the U.S., the Caribbean and Puerto Rico.
“The Airlift has a long, proud history of making a difference in communities across the country and the only way that’s possible is through the generosity of Citation owners,” Sperley said. “The Special Olympics Airlift is a unique opportunity to give back in a meaningful way.”