At a press conference here yesterday, actor/pilot Harrison Ford accepted the appointment of honorary chairman of Cessna’s 2010 Special Olympics Airlift.
“It is an opportunity for the athletes, an opportunity for Cessna to demonstrate their community-minded approach, and an opportunity for all of us in aviation to do something positive and high-profile to promote aviation at a time when aviation faces some difficulties,” Ford said.
Cessna is seeking volunteers to transport some 2,000 athletes to the next Special Olympics, which will be held July 17 to 24, 2010, in Lincoln, Neb. The company would like to secure at least 325 Citations to support the effort.
Cessna began transporting Special Olympics athletes and coaches in 1985 with two company aircraft. Since then, the airlift has grown to a volunteer effort that includes hundreds of Citation owners who make their aircraft and crews available to provide Special Olympians and their coaches and sponsors with transportation to the International and National Special Olympics Games. In 2006, 235 Citations transported 1,500 athletes and coaches to the Games in Des Moines, Iowa.
“The Citation Special Olympics Airlift is a unique event that brings together the general aviation community to carry out the largest peacetime airlift in the world,” Ford said.
The Special Olympics were created in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver for people with intellectual disabilities.
Owners wishing to donate use of their aircraft for the event are encouraged to register online at www.airlift.cessna.com.