Patriots Loan “AirKraft One” to Local New England College Football Team
The Patriots suffered a devastating loss against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend, but even that looming cloud of defeat couldn't stifle Robert Kraft's spirit of generosity.
According to a story released by the New England Patriots, Head Coach of the University of Rhode Island football Jim Fleming, reached out to the New England football club as a surprise for his then undefeated team.
At the time the 5-0 URI Rams thought they were going to endure a seven hour bus ride to Townson, Maryland for their Saturday, Oct.16 game.
Once the teams were loaded on their buses, a few players started to think something was up when the caravan veered towards the T.F. Green Airport, rather continuing on the route to Townson.
Any confusion the team might have had was cleared up when they pulled onto the tarmac to see one plane and one plane only. AirKraft One.
According to The New England Patriots website, Coach Fleming had originally chartered a flight for the team to avoid the long road trip, but at the last minute the flight was unable to find enough crew and properly staff the trip.
In a desperate attempt to avoid the grueling road trip, Fleming reached out to the Patriots knowing it would be a long shot and offered the what the team had budgeted for their original flight to the New England organization.
In typical Robert Kraft fashion, not only did the Patriots agree to lend the plane to the team, they covered all of the travel costs.
"I almost fell out of my seat … It's incredible for us. It's an incredible show of support. It's visible and recognizable by everybody. It probably enhances our opportunity to go out and play as best we can and try to get another W."
Coach Fleming, URI Football via New England Patriots
The Patriots organization has lent out their plane to a handful of other New England sports teams for travel as well as sending Massachusetts health care workers to the super bowl last year. They have also used to the plan to deliver much needed PPE during the pandemic and transported families of the Parkland school shooting to the nations capital after the deadly Florida massacre.