Fifth Citation Air Lift Transports 1,500+ Special Olympians
l to r) Ed Bolen, Rose Pelton, Tom and Sharon Poberezny, Pete Bunce, and Jack Pelton greeted special Olympians arriving in Des Moines, Iowa July 1.
Jack Pelton and Russ Meyer help a special Olympian off a Citation, whose decals show it has participated in all five Citation Special Olympics Airlifts.
Bill Wagner and Ted Townsend of Townsend Engineering pose with a group of athletes upon arrival at Des Moines. Townsend flew two missions on July 1.
July 13, 2006 — Two hundred twenty-five Cessna Citations transported more than 1,500 athletes to the Special Olympic U.S. National Games held the first week of July at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. EAA President Tom Poberezny and his wife, Sharon, joined Cessna President and CEO Jack Pelton and his wife Rose greeting the arriving aircraft and the passengers at Des Moines International Airport on July 1, as special Olympians were brought in from 28 different states and 39 different airports. This marked the fifth Citation Special Olympics Airlift.
"The event was a tremendous success," Poberezny said. "I was very pleased to see that many of the pilots and aircraft owners were EAA members. Special Olympics is a great organization and Sharon and I congratulate Cessna Aircraft Company and the Citation owners and pilots for this outstanding effort." Cessna reports that almost 25 percent of all the competing athletes were transported by the airlift.
What's more, about 1,400 of the athletes who experienced the flights became EAA Young Eagles as a result of their journey to Des Moines. Also greeting arriving athletes were Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).
Poberezny singled out Marilyn Richwine for her tireless efforts in organizing the airlift, and Russ Meyer for his vision in creating the Citation Airlift back in 1987. More than 400 volunteers were on site each Saturday, plus thousands more worked over the last 18 months planning the airlift.
Cessna Citations performed aircraft operations over a 12-hour period on both July 1 and July 8.