Industry associations NBAA and GAMA lend their support

2022) – Textron Aviationand its customers are set to transport thousands of athletes and coaches from across the nation to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Fla. There is still time for Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet and Hawker aircraft owners and operators to donate the use of their aircraft, pilots and fuel to help in this massive effort. The deadline to register to participate in the Special Olympics Airlift is Monday, Feb. 28.

The Airlift is a signature community event organized and coordinated by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, with assistance from owners and operators, industry partners and employee volunteers.

“With nearly 150 aircraft registered to date, we’ve had a tremendous response to the Special Olympics Airlift from our customers and industry partners so far, and we’re hoping for a strong final push,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “The more aircraft we register, the more athletes we can help transport to the Games. While this is the eighth Special Olympics organized by the company, it is the first year we’re coordinating the event as Textron Aviation, and we’re excited to welcome Cessna Citation, Hawker and Beechcraft jet and turboprops owners and operators to participate in this memorable and meaningful industry experience.”

The deadline to register an aircraft for the Airlift is the end of February to give organizers time to coordinate flights among the customers and Special Olympics state delegations. Travel is the largest expense for Special Olympics Programs, and the Airlift helps offset these costs by allowing athletes to travel to the games hassle-free with their gear and teammates.

With one month remaining in the recruitment period, nearly 150 aircraft are registered for the Airlift, which will take athletes and coaches to Orlando on Saturday, June 4, and return them to their home bases on Sunday, June 12. Owners and operators in every state are needed to donate the use of aircraft, pilots and fuel. 

Since the first Airlift in 1987, nearly 10,000 athletes and coaches from across the United States have been transported to Special Olympics World Games and USA Games. 

NBAA & GAMA Support Airlift

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) industry associations have been long-time supporters of the Airlift and are calling on their members to get involved.

“The Special Olympics Airlift is a great way for business aviation companies to come together and give back to their communities,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO, NBAA. “We encourage our members to participate.”

President and CEO of GAMA Pete Bunce has also been onsite at the Airlift for many years and has seen first-hand how important this event is. “Having participated in several past airlifts, I can attest to how rewarding participation in this intricately choreographed philanthropic effort is, particularly when you see the enthusiasm of the Special Olympians, many of whom have never been in a general aviation aircraft,” Bunce said.

For more information and/or to register to be a part of this nationwide aviation event, visit


Hear from Ed Bolen, President & CEO of National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) about his commitment to the Special Olympics USA Games. 

Special Olympics media kit