170 Citations In Special Olympics Airlift


More than 170 Cessna Citations from all over the U.S. will land at Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday to deliver 2,000 competitors to the Special Olympics U.S. National Games. This is the sixth time Cessna has organized the gigantic Citation Special Olympics Airlift and this year’s effort is chaired by Citation owner Harrison Ford. The airlift is a logistical challenge as flights have to be coordinated to ensure smooth flow into Lincoln. It will take 15 hours to recover all the aircraft, which will be carrying between three and seven athletes apiece. Then they’ll do it all over again a week later when they fly back to Lincoln to pick up the athletes. It’s clearly a labor of love for Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, who is in the thick of the organization and execution of the event.

The airlift began in 1985 with two Citations carrying a delegation from Cessna’s home state of Kansas. Two years later, 132 Citations were involved and this year’s will be among the biggest yet.