Volume 69 | Thursday, May 4, 2023

Jump Seat Logo _New_.png

Flight to End Polio

Welcome back to Jump Seat. In part one of this multi-part series, we would like to highlight an incredible journey that the Collins Aerospace team is proud to be a part of and how you can help end a debilitating and life threating disease.

The Mission 


What makes polio so devastating is that it is a disease with no cure. Once infection occurs, doctors can only provide treatment for the symptoms that are present. According to the CDC, in the late 1940s and 50s the spread of polio was rampant, disabling more than 35,000 Americans each year. Through rigorous vaccination efforts and the work of health care professionals, polio was essentially eradicated in the United States. Similar efforts around the world have helped to slow the spread but unfortunately, some countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are still battling outbreaks to this day. 


Rotary International and its members are at the forefront in the fight against polio and have made it a priority to ensure that everyone has access to the polio vaccine. Two Rotarians, Peter Teahen and John Ockenfels, are about to embark on an around-the-world mission that, along with support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to spread awareness and raise funds to eradicate polio worldwide. 

Images 1 & 2:  Peter and John in their Cessna T210M

The Plan(e)  


Peter and John’s journey was initially set to begin in the spring of 2020 in their Piper Lance II. Before they could depart, the rapid escalation of COVID-19 throughout the world delayed their plans. Additional hurdles were added when the conflict in Ukraine meant that they could no longer travel via Russia. Changes to the itinerary were necessary and the flight path was altered to a southerly route, culminating in a lengthy fourteen-hour flight from Hawaii to southern California.  


The updated route also required an aircraft that could handle the longer flights. Peter and John then purchased a single engine 1977 Cessna T210M and made additional modifications such as installing fuel bladders to increase the endurance of the aircraft.  

Image 3: The anticipated stops. Source – Flighttoendpolio.com 


The Flight to End Polio will cover over 25,000 miles and more than 160 hours of flight time. Based on the current itinerary, Peter and John’s mission will take them to 21 countries and include 39 landings during the three month journey. During their stays, they plan to connect with other Rotarians at planned events to fundraise and bring awareness to polio’s presence.  


An Assist from Collins Aerospace 


When the Flight to End Polio begins on May 5th, the ARINCDirect Flight Operations team will be in the virtual jump seat supporting Peter and John every step of the way. Since the beginning of 2023, the team has met regularly with the two pilots and provided access to the tools that will aid them on their journey. Our Flight Planning and Navigation (FPLNAV) team even custom-loaded performance data for the Cessna T210M to account for the modifications made to the aircraft and ensure accurate flight planning. Meanwhile, our Flight Coordinators, including certified dispatchers and meteorologists, will be filing flight plans, providing weather briefings, and flight following every step of the way.

Image 4: The Cessna T210M ready for the around-the-world journey

“We are honored to have the opportunity to support Peter and John on their around-the-world flight to end polio. Getting to work with these courageous pilots and being part of their adventure and their mission is a humbling and inspiring experience for our Flight Operations team. I am very proud of all our dispatchers and meteorologists who will lend their unparalleled, around-the-clock flight support to this wonderful cause and that our ARINCDirect tools will assist in the planning and execution of this 25,000-mile journey. On behalf of the entire ARINCDirect team, I want to thank Peter and John and encourage our business aviation community to support their fight against polio,” stated Anja Bonacci, Associate Director of Global Customer Experience for Collins Aerospace ARINCDirect. 


How can you help? 


Through the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, every dollar raised for the Flight to End Polio will be matched 2 to 1. What’s even more impressive is that 100% of all contributions will be donated to the Rotary Foundation Polio Plus Program. John and Peter are paying for all expenses related to this fascinating journey out of their own pockets along with assistance from corporate sponsors such as Collins Aerospace. For more information on how you can help, please visit the Flight to End Polio site. Your support is impactful.  

Did you know?

  • After completing their trip, John and Peter will join rare company. Only 700 pilots have flown around the world in a single-engine aircraft. And of those, only 300 are alive today. 
  • There are additional Collins Aerospace connections to the Flight to End Polio. Janet Teahen, who is Peter’s wife, has worked at Collins Aerospace for 12 years as a Commodity Manager. The Collins connection doesn’t stop there, Janet’s parents, Marge and her late father Vern, are both Collins retirees who worked a combined 62 years in the Cedar Rapids operation.  

Useful Links

Thank you for reading!

Sign up for Izon today!

Izon offers a free, secure, single sign-on experience

that combines the best of ARINCDirect into

one connected platform.

Izon Setup Guide
More Jump Seat
ARINCDirect Support