Bruce Whitman, President and CEO of FlightSafety International, has been named honorary chairman of the 21st Annual Greater Washington Aviation Open (GWAO), scheduled for May 4 at the Lansdowne Resort near Washington, D.C.
GWAO raises funds for the Corporate Angel Network (CAN) through sponsorships, tournaments fees, and a live auction that includes airline tickets to destinations in the United States and around the world. CAN tracks the unused seats on corporate business jets and makes them available to cancer patients for flights to and from treatments at no cost.
“It is my honor and privilege to chair the GWAO this year,” Whitman said. “This tournament is an opportunity for us to support and express our gratitude to Corporate Angel Network. Together, we can help CAN provide cancer patients and their families with much needed and greatly appreciated flights.”
“Last year’s event set another record, raising $140,000 for CAN,” stated GWAO Chairman Paul Bollinger. “Each year, the tournament raises some 20% of CAN’s annual operating costs,” he explained.
Some 250 golfers and tennis players traditionally gather on the first Monday in May at the Lansdowne Golf Resort, just outside Washington, for the full day event, luncheon, reception and auction. Major aviation and aerospace companies including AeroTrader, Alenia North America, FlightSafety International, The Boeing Company, Sentient Flight Group, ALPA, ITT Defense, Signature Flight Support, OBN Aviation, PNC Bank, Aviation Week, and Safe Flight Instrument Corp. supported last year’s GWAO event.
The Greater Washington Aviation Open, established in 1989 by a group of aviation executives, provides a means for aerospace companies to support a worthy cause related to air transportation, while enjoying a day of sports and camaraderie, Bollinger said. Thousands of people from around the world have participated in the annual tournaments during the past 20 years.
Corporate Angel Network is a public charity that arranges free flights to treatment for cancer patients, using empty seats on business aircraft. Since its founding 28 years ago, Corporate Angel Network has grown to include more than 500 participating corporations, five paid staff, and a team of 50 part-time volunteers who work with patients, physicians, corporate flight departments, and leading treatment centers to coordinate the medical travel needs of cancer patients with the flight activity of participating corporations. CAN has flown more than 30,000 patient flights and currently provides between 200 and 250 such flights each month.