The first Learjet 28 Longhorn (Serial Number 28-001) cruised at 50,000 feet somewhere between Allentown, Pa., and Mattoon, Ill., when the thought hit me. The late Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, had flown this same airplane and here I was riding in the cabin.
The fallout of the Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy continues to settle as Little Rock (Ark.) Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport prepares to seek a new tenant for the former Wichita OEM’s completion and MRO facilities. The Little Rock facility was shut down by the former Hawker Beechcraft (now Beechcraft) earlier this year as part of a decision to exit the business of building business jets.
Russell W. Meyer Jr., former chairman of the Cessna Aircraft Co., will receive the fourth annual Wichita Aero Club (WAC) trophy at the organization’s Trophy Gala on Jan. 25, 2014.
“Russ’s contributions to the aviation industry and to the local community are so numerous and so extensive that it would take a book just to list them. He is, without question, a great choice for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy,” said Dave Franson, WAC president.
Air Capital Interiors, a new cabin refurbishment specialist, is open for business in Wichita. Located in a 9,000-sq-ft renovated facility, Air Capital is a partner in the new venture with interior detailing and cabin renovation specialist Appearance Group. Both are located at Colonel James Jabara Airport. “Our core customer will be those maintenance facilities that don’t have interior capability,” said Air Capital president Rodney Wilson.
NBAA is all about promoting the reality of business aviation, its advantages for the companies that understand and avail themselves of it, and the complications of communicating the critical nature of its activities to the U.S. Congress and regulators. When a reporter from outside of aviation writes a story that helps NBAA in its mission, the organization is quick to recognize that individual with its prestigious Gold Wing Award for Journalism Excellence.
NBAA presented its 2013 Gold Wing Award for Journalism Excellence yesterday to Wichita Eagle reporter Molly McMillin yesterday at the NBAA Convention. She won the award for her story, “Corporate Planes Give Business Owners an Edge,” published on Dec. 13, 2012. McMillin’s story “helped put forward the true face of business aviation,” NBAA said. It also described the stress that the recession and Washington rhetoric has put on the companies using business aviation to survive and compete in an “unforgiving” economy and global marketplace.
This month Bombardier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Learjet’s first flight even as the company struggles to launch a larger new flagship, the Model 85, and switch to composite airframe construction. Since 1963, Learjet has become one of the world’s most iconic brands, often generically misused to describe any make/model of private jet, and a conspicuous sign of affluence.
The 50th anniversary of the first flight of the first Learjet, the Model 23, on Oct. 7, 1963, begged to be celebrated and Bombardier obliged with gusto, holding two events at the company’s main assembly facility in Wichita on October 4 and 5 and inviting current and former employees and their families, a few special guests and owners and operators who brought examples of almost every Learjet production model. Only the Learjet 55 was absent, as the aircraft planned for the celebration could not make it at the last minute.
Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asking him to deem the FAA’s aircraft registry an essential service. The closure of this office during the government shutdown has all but halted aircraft sales transactions.
The 50th anniversary yesterday of the maiden flight of the first Learjet–the Model 23, on Oct. 7, 1963–begged to be celebrated, and Bombardier obliged with gusto, holding two events at its main assembly facility in Wichita over the weekend. Invited were current and former employees and their families, several special guests and owners and operators who brought examples of almost every Learjet ever produced.