The seventh Citation Special Olympics Airlift will get under way on Saturday, flying some 700 athletes from across the U.S. to compete in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey. The airlift is sponsored and managed by Textron Aviation, and–thanks to its recent acquisition of Beechcraft–for the first time will include Beechcraft owners alongside Cessna Citation operators.
More than 100 owners and operators have donated their aircraft, along with pilots and fuel, to transport athletes and coaches from 28 departure locations in 22 states to Trenton Mercer County (N.J.) Airport on Saturday. The aircraft will return to the same airport on June 21 to take the athletes home after the week-long USA Games. As part of the airlift, an airplane will land or take off at Trenton Mercer as often as every three to four minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT on both Saturdays, Cessna said.
“The Citation Special Olympics Airlift is an inspiring display of the spirit of the general aviation community,” said Textron Aviation senior vice president of sales and marketing Kriya Shortt. “Our customers and employees truly enjoy the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the athletes and their families.”
Since the first Citation Special Olympics Airlift in 1987, the event has transported nearly 10,000 athletes and coaches from across the U.S.