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Textron Aviation has launched the Special Olympics Airlift (SOA), sending out a call for Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet and Hawker owners and operators to help transport more than 4,000 athletes and coaches from across the USA to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.
“Textron Aviation, along with our many generous customers and supporters, is extremely excited to kick off the eighth Special Olympics Airlift in support of providing athletes and coaches transportation to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games,” says Ron Draper, president and CEO. “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.”
Since the first Special Olympics Airlift in 1987, nearly 10,000 athletes and coaches from across the US have been transported to Special Olympics World Games and USA Games. With this eighth SOA, Textron Aviation aims to recruit 228 aircraft owners by 28 February 2022 to help transport a portion of the over 4,000 athletes and coaches invited to Orlando, Florida on 4 June 2022, and then return them to their home bases on 12 June 2022.
In addition to aircraft, pilots, fuel and in-kind support are requested for the airlift efforts. While the 2022 USA Games are located in the country's southeast, thousands of athletes and coaches will travel from all over the US as well as the Caribbean and Puerto Rico to attend.
“Travelling to Orlando for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games may be the first time some of our athletes ever leave their hometown, let alone fly on an aircraft,” says Tony Wyllie, regional president of Special Olympics North America. “The travel experience provided by Textron and its customers will be the ultimate bookends for one unforgettable week.”