Cessna's first-ever "Discover Flying Challenge" is on, pitting nine high-energy college aviation program grads in a competition to see who can generate the most awareness and hands-on experience in their airplanes - Cessna Skycatchers - as they barnstorm across the country. In a month they'll reconvene at AirVenture Oshkosh to see who the winner is.
They all took off last weekend at a Cessna Open House in Independence, Kansas, held to commemorate the company's 85th anniversary.
During the month of July, the young pilots - each also a CFI - will show off their custom-painted light-sport aircraft at fly-ins, air shows, FBOs, and Cessna Pilot Centers across America.
"The Skycatcher is such as unique and accessible aircraft that we wanted to introduce it to the flying public in a manner that reflected the same," said Tracy Leopold, Cessna business leader for the Skycatcher. "We have found that once people experience flight in a Skycatcher, their interest in the product increases."
The pilots will share their experiences via updates to their Facebook and Twitter feeds, as well as videos posted to the Cessna YouTube channel. Other events may be announced when they reach Oshkosh.
Zoe Cunningham, senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida, hopes she'll be able to create aviators while out and about in her assigned Skycatcher. "The best part of the Challenge will be sparking that passion for aviation in others and sharing the joy of flight with the Skycatcher."
For more information about the Discover Flying Challenge program, visit the Cessna Facebook page.