A consortium of business, government and educational organizations in the greater Wichita area has formed a Wichita Aero Club. The group plans to host monthly luncheons and invite high-profile speakers to address major aviation industry issues.
Cessna supplier Spirit AeroSystems will manufacture the fuselage for the Citation Columbus in a new 375,000-sq-ft factory in Wichita. The Kansas Department of Commerce’s Major Projects and Comprehensive Training program and Kansas Economic Opportunity Initiatives Fund helped with $14.5 million in funding, and the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County are adding $3.2 million in property tax rebates.
Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems (Booth No. 3888) announced plans to build a 375,000-sq-ft factory to accommodate the manufacturing and testing of the Cessna Citation Columbus. The airplane assembly and component supplier signed an agreement with Cessna earlier this year to produce the Citation’s fuselage and empennage.
While the composite structure, electrical harness and sub-assembly installation for Bombardier’s new Learjet 85 will be done at its Querétaro facility in Mexico, final assembly and interior completion work will be done at the company’s Wichita facility…Aero Toy Store has completed a new 45,000-sq-ft expansion in Montreal, including the 15,000-sq-ft completion center.
It’s fitting that the first museum to which Raytheon Aircraft is donating a Beech Starship–the Kansas Aviation Museum–is located in Wichita, the city where the composite twin-turboprop pusher was conceived, designed and built. In June Raytheon Aircraft disclosed to AIN (July, page 1) that it planned to destroy all 50 Starships produced because continued support is cost prohibitive.
Hawker Beechcraft late last month completed the sale of the majority of its wholly owned fuel and line operations to Signature Flight Support parent company BBA Aviation. The transaction included operations in Atlanta; Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Indianapolis; Tampa, Fla.; Wichita; and Van Nuys, Calif. Hawker Beechcraft will retain its factory-owned maintenance and customer support facilities located at these locations.
Engineers at Cessna are finishing architecture and layout planning for the Wichita OEM’s largest jet, the fly-by-wire Columbus, and the company revealed new details about vendors and facilities. The Columbus will be assembled at new facilities in Wichita, and Cessna plans to break ground on the factory later this year.
According to Cessna’s v-p of service facilities Jim Morgan, “We are dedicated to expanding our worldwide Citation product network and doubling the capacity of our Cessna-owned service facilities during the next five years.” To keep up with the service requirements for the more than 3,700-strong (and growing) fleet of Citations, Cessna is expanding its Citation Service Centers here in Orlando and back at its home in Wichita.
According to Cessna chairman and CEO Russ Meyer, the company’s 75th year in business could be its best ever in terms of deliveries and billings. Meyer said that by year-end the Wichita airframer will deliver more than 300 Citations, 100 Caravans and 500 piston singles; billings are expected to top $3.2 billion.
Hawker Beechcraft reported continued strong sales in the first quarter, though costs associated with Hawker 4000 certification and delivery delays resulted in the Wichita aircraft manufacturer posting a $1.5 million loss for the period. The company reported net bookings of $1.1 billion during the three-month span, resulting in a record backlog of $6.8 billion.