Textron Aviation Calls Pilots to Action for Special Olympics Airlift

The event supports the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.

Textron Aviation president & CEO Ron Draper (pictured third from left) with Special Olympics Kansas athletes. Courtesy: Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation recently announced its signature industry event—the Special Olympics Airlift (SOA)—including a call to Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet, and Hawker pilots, owners, and operators to help transport the more than 4,000 athletes and coaches who are expected to participate in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.

The company hopes to secure 228 donated aircraft and crews by February 28, 2022, to help transport participants from all over the U.S to Orlando on June 4, 2022, and return them to their home bases on June 12, 2022. 

With 129 airplanes registered as of Tuesday, the SOA still needs 99 aircraft to fill the roster.

An Incredible Mission

Since the first Special Olympics Airlift in 1987, nearly 10,000 athletes and coaches from across the United States have been flown to the Special Olympics World Games and USA Games. Flying has covered the airlift over the course of its history.

Peyton Manning, former quarterback for the NFL Denver Broncos football team, has taken on the role of honorary chairman for the event.

“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,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. 

“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.”

How You Can Join In

The Special Olympics Airlift offers an opportunity for pilots, aircraft owners, flight departments, and companies to donate their time and resources to a greater good. For more information or to register for the event, visit the Textron SOA site.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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