WICHITAKan.Jun. 14, 2013 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, is once again offering a unique internship experience – the Discover Flying Challenge – for six aviation students from a 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.

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 plan to attend 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 will use 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 fromHamptonUniversitythis 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 Discover Flying Challenge will commence 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 will attend a Cessna 172 fly-in at the field, and then depart for their respective regions around the U.S.  The pilots are assigned social media accounts through Cessna’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and will virtually document their journey.  The students are challenged to make their social media content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube both creative and engaging, as they will be competing against each other for various prizes at the conclusion of the program.

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.

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