Peyton Manning Named Our Honorary Chair
Special Olympics athletes embody grit, perseverance and greatness, so no one could be better suited to serve as the Honorary Chairperson for 2022 Special Olympics Airlift than legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
The Airlift fits perfectly with Peyton’s experience both on the field as a legendary athlete, but also off the field as an ambassador, advocate and fundraiser for many worthy causes.
Textron Aviation was thrilled to recruit Peyton and to share his special message with our customers. As honorary chair, Peyton is asking you to donate the use of your CESSNA CITATION, BEECHCRAFT KING AIR, Beechcraft PREMIER, Beechjet and HAWKER aircraft, pilots and fuel to transport thousands of athletes and coaches from all over the U.S., as well as the Caribbean and Puerto Rico to attend the Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida in June of 2022.
Travel is the largest expense for Special Olympics programs. The Airlift helps offset these costs, allowing athletes to travel to the Games hassle-free with their gear and teammates and arrive rested and ready to compete at a national level.
Peyton knows first-hand about competing at the top level. He started his professional football career in 1998 as the first overall draft pick and had a stellar 18-season career, winning two Super Bowl rings and a league-record five Most Valuable Player honors. He and his wife Ashley established the PeyBack Foundation in 1999 to promote the future success of youth by assisting programs that provide leadership and growth opportunities for children in need. The PeyBack Foundation has provided more than $15 million in grants and programs for children and families of all backgrounds.
“The Special Olympics Airlift is an incredible opportunity for the aviation community to give athletes from across the country a memorable experience to and from the Games,” Peyton said. “Textron Aviation’s support of the Airlift is a great example of their commitment to making a real difference.”
Customer Spotlight: Patrick Murphy
Airlift Headlines King Air Operator’s Commitment to Charitable Flying
Beechcraft King Air turboprop owner and pilot Patrick Murphy received the call in April 2021 for operators to help fly Special Olympics athletes to Orlando. He signed up immediately, thinking it was nice to have two months’ notice. He then realized the Special Olympics Airlift coordinated by Textron Aviation is in 2022.
“Typically the lead times on these charity flight requests are measured in days, if not hours, not the 12 months that we have with the Airlift,” Murphy said. “It might be tough for some people to commit this early, but I appreciate having the long lead time. I’m blessed that in my current role, my calendar for 2022 is a whole lot of white, so I can put it in my calendar and plan around it.”
Patrick was a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Navy for 10 years and has been flying fixed wing for five years. He commits to flying regular charity flights to help others, and also to keep up his
recency and currency.
“Having a military background, I have a mission mindset, and these charitable flights give me a opportunity to get more experience with planning, executing and completing flights,” he said, adding that he has flown for Patient Airlift Services, Angel Flight Northeast and Veterans Airlift Command.
In 2020, Patrick traded in his Cirrus for a 1981 Beechcraft King Air C90 that he bases at the Westchester County Airport (KHPN) in White Plains, New York. The upgrade has opened more routes for his business, personal and charitable flying. In the first six months of ownership, he flew the King Air 100 hours (he typically flies 150 total hours a year).
Patrick is CEO of Trident Construction, an open-shop concrete foundation and concrete super-structure contractor working mostly in the New York market but looking to grow to other areas. He also has real estate holdings up and down the East Coast.
In addition to improving his skills as a pilot, Patrick says philanthropic missions allow him to improve the lives of those around him.
“My attitude toward Special Olympics and charity flying in general is that it gives you a chance to use an asset that you already have, and you’re using the skills that you’ve honed in a way that makes someone else’s life easier,” he said. "It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Athlete spotlight: Tyler Griswold
After cheering on his younger sister at the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Tyler Griswold gets his chance to bowl at the highest level as a member of the Team Kansas USA Games delegation.
One of Tyler’s hobbies is playing flight simulators, so he’s especially looking forward to the Airlift experience. In addition to being an easier travel experience, he says, “I’ve never flown on a private plane before. It’s going to be cool, and I'm ready to go and bring home a gold medal.”
Tyler has more than 1,000 medals, but he says the biggest victories from his time with Special Olympics have been exercising more, making life-long friends and overcoming shyness. He is now one of the most welcoming teammates when other athletes join the program.
Learn more about the USA Games and the athletes who will compete there at 2022specialolympicsusagames.org.
We Need You!
Who: Nearly 200 aircraft—Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, Beechcraft Premier, Beechjet, Hawker
What: 2022 Special Olympics Airlift
Where: From airports around the U.S. to and from Orlando Executive Airport (KORL) for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games
When: June 4, 2022 and June 12, 2022