Cessna's 2013 Discover Flying Challenge Reaches Midway Point

WICHITA, Kan., July. 09, 2013 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, has once again offered a unique internship experience – the 2013 Discover Flying Challenge – to six aviation students and one business student from a country wide field of applicants for a summer-long excursion across the United States. This year, Cessna has partnered with five not-for-profit organizations as part of this summer’s Discover Flying Challenge to bring awareness to their charitable efforts and raise awareness for general aviation.

The Discover Flying Challenge commenced on Saturday, June 15 at the Strother Field Industrial Park in Winfield, Kan., aboard six customized Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft. The Discover Flying Challenge pilots attended a Cessna 172 fly-in at the field, and then departed for their respective regions around the U.S. The pilots have been updating their social media accounts through Cessna’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

This year Cessna selected five charities to be featured during the program in an effort to raise awareness for causes aligning with the company’s charitable investments: American Red Cross, Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles, Special Olympics, United Way and Veterans Airlift Command. The community partners’ logos are displayed on the program’s six Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft, and pilots have attended community partner events, such as Special Olympics summer games and EAA Young Eagles rallies. To engage aviation enthusiasts and community partners’ supporters alike, the six pilot interns, whose schedule is managed by the office based seventh intern, have been using social media to share their experiences with flight and philanthropy throughout the summer. The charity with the most social engagement will receive a $25,000 donation from Cessna.

“Cessna is passionate about making airplanes and promoting aviation pride. Pairing this passion with an opportunity to give back to worthy organizations is at the heart of our heritage as Cessnans,” said Jodi Noah, senior vice president of single engine and turboprop aircraft. “We selected our Discover Flying Challenge charities based on Cessna’s specific areas of community involvement: human services, education, quality of life and promotion of aviation, and are excited to give them another platform from which their inspiring stories can be shared.”

“Discover Flying Challenge provides such an incredible opportunity for us to share our passion for flying with the world,” said Lawrence Howard, one of this summer’s Discover Flying Challenge pilots, and recent graduate from Hampton University this spring. “I’m able to translate my degree in Aviation Flight Education to a real world experience by getting to work for an aviation giant like Cessna and be paid to pilot a Skyhawk from air shows to fly-ins. I am looking forward to speaking with people about the great efforts of our charity partners while at the same time hang out with aviation fans. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The pilots’ progress and scheduled events can be followed through SocialFlight, a website which provides a mobile app providing detailed pilot itineraries and mapped appearances. SocialFlight provides a free mobile app available at the iTunes App Store for the iPhone and iPad. It is also available on the Google Play Store for Android Phones and Tablets. The app can also be used on BlackBerry devices. Learn more about SocialFlight at www.socialflight.com

Visit cessnadfc.com for biographies of Discovery Flying Challenge pilots.

About Cessna

Cessna is the world's leading general aviation company. Since its inception in 1927, Cessna has designed, produced and delivered nearly 200,000 airplanes around the globe. This includes 6,500 Citation business jets, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Today, Cessna has two principal lines of business: aircraft sales and aftermarket services. Aircraft sales include Citation business jets, Caravan single-engine utility turboprops, single-engine piston aircraft and lift solutions by CitationAir. Aftermarket services include parts, maintenance, inspection and repair services. In 2012, Cessna delivered 571 aircraft, including 181 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of $3.111 billion. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at cessna.com.                  

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at textron.com