2016 Plane Pull

2016 Recap: Republic tops $415,000, sets fundraising record

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Record 50 teams register; defending champ LIDS logs fastest time of 7.66 seconds


Simply put, it just keeps getting bigger and better. Saturday’s Pulling for Wishes Plane Pull at the Indianapolis Maintenance Center was a record-setting event on three fronts – 50 registered pull teams and just over $415,000 raised through donations, team fees and a live auction dinner. That means since 2011, our event has raised more than $1.4 million for the nonprofit Indiana Children’s Wish Fund (ICWF), which grants wishes like vacations to seriously or terminally ill children. With an average cost of $6,000 per wish, this year’s Plane Pull will help grant a lot of wishes!


Photo gallery: All the action, from start to finish.

Photo gallery: Team-by-team group photos.


“It was great day, and it just warms my heart to see Republic Associates pull together for such a fantastic event,” said Amy Chiappe, Director of Inflight and Republic’s lead organizer for the event. “The community support and our sponsors were tremendous – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Defending champs LIDS Foundation, Inc. (right) of Indianapolis took home the top prize of 10 roundtrip domestic airfare tickets from American Airlines with a finals round pull time of 7.66 seconds. Last year, a LIDS team recorded a finals pull time of 6.59 seconds – a Plane Pull record that still stands.

The rest of the top five pull teams in the finals were: Rolls-Royce, 8.00 seconds; Pulling for Mason, 8.03 seconds; Team Maintenance, 8.22 seconds; and Fully Compliant, 8.47 seconds.

The Plane Pull is dedicated to the memory of Tyler Frenzel, a Carmel, Ind., boy who suffered from leukemia and passed away in 2004. Tyler’s wish to visit Disney World was granted by ICWF.

Top prizes were awarded for the following:

  • Most raffle ticket sales: Pam Frenzel, Tyler’s mom – winner of an iPad mini
  • Best team costume: Kroger IncrediPulls – winner of 10 iPad minis
  • Runner-up best costume: Kroger IncrediPulls – winner of 10 $100 Prime 47 Carmel gift certificates
  • Team to raise the most money: Maddie’s Minions, $7,100 total raised – winner of 10 carry-on luggage pieces by IT Luggage
  • Runner-up to fastest pull time: Rolls-Royce – winner of 10 $50 Ruth’s Chris gift certificates
  • Raffle ticket winners (mystery getaway weekend, including airfare and hotel accommodations): first place, Sue Slack, Indianapolis, six seats; second place, Deanne Miller, Indianapolis, four seats; and third, fourth and fifth place, Bill Boggs, Kevin Kielty, Ken Barthel, all of Indianapolis, two seats each.

The day kicked off with a dance routine by Dance Legacy of Indianapolis, followed by a solo pull attempt of the American E175 by CMH Mechanic Ian Frias. CEO Bryan Bedford got in on the action and joined a ceremonial pull team featuring Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis, Colts cheerleaders, TV and newspaper sports reporters, and kids from the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund. Other celebrities on hand included Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, whose aviation program flew in two aircraft for display, and former All-Star pro baseball player Scott Rolen, a longtime supporter Team Frenzel.


As the pull teams battled it out, the kids zone was buzzing with activity with a dizzying array of attractions, including a bounce house, arts and crafts, face-painting, bean-bag toss, balloon animals, stilt walkers and clowns. New sponsor Kroger gave away hundreds of cookies and drinks at its decoration station, Colts cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for pictures, and the silent auction tables drew hundreds of bids for gift baskets, memorabilia, restaurant gift certificates – even two seats from a Frontier Airlines Ejet. Stations for walk-up donations and Plane Pull event t-shirts sales were popular, too.


Saturday night, an exclusive live auction dinner hosted by Robert Mathis at Prime 47 Carmel restaurant added to the Plane Pull bottom line with bids for a Tito’s Vodka guitar, signed by Tito himself, luggage, jewelry, autographed memorabilia, wines and a golf package with Masters and PGA champ Fuzzy Zoeller.

Of course, an event of this magnitude wouldn’t be possible without the teamwork of countless behind-the-scenes players at Republic, including setup and logistics from our IMC Associates, organizational and sponsor solicitation from all departments, and support from our Executive and Leadership teams.

“This reason this event is so successful – and why Republic is such a great company – is the generosity, drive for perfection and passion of our Associates,” Amy said. “All departments across our entire system played a role in pulling this off, but a special shout-out goes to Sr. Manager of Onboard Services Christine Worthley, IND Manager Tim Simpson and AOG Manager Judy Michels and their teams for making it all happen,” Amy said.

Next year's Plane Pull is tentatively scheduled for the late April 2017.

Photos by Corporate Communications and Jill Howell of Raindancer Studios. Story by Corporate Communications Manager Scott Thien. Inquiries? Email Corporate Communications at corpcomm@rjet.com or call (317) 471-2470.