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‘An Aircraft Ballet’

July 17, 2010

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Cessna, Duncan Aviation and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce were the first to welcome athletes and celebrities for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games at the Cessna Citation Airlift on Saturday.

Robert Duncan, chairman emeritus of Duncan Aviation, was the first pilot to register with Cessna for the airlift and piloted the first jet, landing Saturday at 7:28 a.m. He brought in athletes from Columbus, OH., the first of more than 800 athletes who flew in throughout the 10 hour event Saturday. The airlift helps cut costs of the Games for athletes.

Jack Pelton, CEO of Cessna, said the group has been working on this event for two years. More than 160 Citation business jets from 28 different states participated in the airlift, and will be there again to take athletes home July 24. Pelton described it as “almost like an aircraft ballet.”

Harrison Ford piloted a jet with Special Olympic athletes from New Mexico. He spoke to the media briefly after landing, noting the contribution “general aviation” makes to communities across the U.S. Ford served as honorary chairman of the 2010 Cessna Citation Special Olympics Airlift.

Photos by Brittany Guindan
Story by Sierra Frauen



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Ohio Athletes arrive in Lincoln

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A Volunteer gives a high-five to an Ohio Athlete at the Cessna Citation Airlift.

Photo by Sierra Frauen



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Ohio Volleyball Athletes land at Duncan Aviation.

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Part of the Ohio Volleyball Team is escorted off a plane at Duncan Aviation.

Photo by Sierra Frauen



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Team Ohio Arrives First on Cessna Citation Airlift (Clean Video)

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Cessna Airlift teams arrive for 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games

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Lincoln, Neb. – The first 2010 Special Olympic USA National Games athletes arrived in Lincoln, Neb. today from Columbus, Ohio as part of the Cessna Airlift. The airlift is bringing 800 Special Olympics athletes and coaches to Lincoln on private aircraft to compete in the USA National Games.

At some point this afternoon actor Harrison Ford will land his Cessna Citation jet in Lincoln, Neb. He’ll be carrying Special Olympics athletes who are coming here from New Mexico to compete in the 2010 USA National Games. Ford is honorary chairman of the Cessna Airlift for the 2010 Special Olympics 2010 USA National Games.

Ford and hundreds of other Cessna jet owners will spend this Saturday and next ferrying 800 athletes and coaches to and from Lincoln for the Special Olympics USA National Games. It means that for 10 hours today and again next Saturday, a Cessna aircraft will take off or land every two minutes or less at the Lincoln airport.

“For these world-class athletes, the airlift is their only means of transportation and the only way for them to have the opportunity to compete as world-class athletes,” Charles Cooper, president and CEO of the 2010 Special Olympics games, said in a statement.

This is the sixth time Cessna has sponsored the airlift. Planning for the even takes a year to put in place. Flight controllers have given the flights a special call sign of “Dove.” And they’re giving them priority attention, the company said. The jets that flew athletes and coaches to Lincoln today will return them home on July 24th.
Photo by Brittany Stark, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Team Ohio Special Olympics athletes Jason Sullivan, Justin Asta and Ryan Yanesh were the first to arrrive in Lincoln at 7:30 am. They all will be competing in basketball throughout the week.

Photo by Brittany Stark, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Members of Team Ohio landed to cheers and applause by hundreds of volunteers and fans.

Photo by Brittany Stark, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
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Nine planes carrying Team Ohio landed in Lincoln, Neb. today. Over 100 more flights are expected throughout the day.  Photo by Brittany Stark, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



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Cessna and Special Olympics North America bring athletes

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Video: Caroline Kilday, Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Cessna employee shows support

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Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A member of the “Cessna” team shows support for the airlift that will bring in more than 800 Special Olympic athletes to Lincoln Ne.



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Robert Duncan to bring first athletes

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Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Robert Duncan, Chairman of Duncan Aviation, attends a press conference in the Danley Building at Duncan Aviation. He will pilot “Dove 1” and bring the first Special Olympic athletes to Lincoln



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Cessna Airlift news conference

July 16, 2010

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Live footage shot from the Cessna Airlift News Conference prior to the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games, Friday, July 16.



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Lincoln’s “Dove 1” first plane to bring athletes

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Video by Farooq Baloch and Christine Scalora, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Robert Duncan, Duncan Aviation chairman emeritus, spoke Friday, July 16, about the Cessna airlift for the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games. The Cessna airlift transported about 3,000 athletes from 28 states to Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday. According to Cessna chairman, president, and CEO Jack Pelton, preparations for the airlift have been underway for two years.
Duncan will fly the first plane of the airlift, “Dove 1,” which will carry three Special Olympics athletes and one coach from Columbus, Ohio.



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