Monthly Archives: January 2010

Boeing Wichita wins follow-on contract to support Air Force One

Boeing Wichita has been awarded a $35.4 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to provide contractor logistics support for VC-25A aircraft, aircraft known Air Force One when the president is on board. Of the total, $8.2 million has been obligated. Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma issued the contract.

The Wichita site won the initial contract last year with options for five more years.

“We’re already on contract, and the customer is basically announcing money to continue doing that work,” said Boeing Wichita spokesman Jarrod Bartlett.

Winter Chill Party to raise money for the Kansas Aviation Museum

The Kansas Aviation Museum’s second annual Winter Chill Party features an old-time radio show written by the museum’s director Lon Smith.

The show, a mix of comedy and music, will be held in the atrium of the historic former Wichita Air Terminal on Saturday, Jan. 30.

Yours truly is in the show, along with Leon Smitherman and Anne Meyer of KSN, Denise Hnytka of KWCH, Steve McIntosh and Ted Woodward of KNSS, local philanthropist Ann Garvey, museum board member Ron Williams and volunteer Debs McIlhenny.

The event is a fundraiser for the museum, includes dinner and will be broadcast live via KNSS. All net proceeds support museum operations. Reservations are required.

Cost for the event is $50 per person or $350 per table of eight. For reservations, call: 316-683-9242.

Fare turned out to be too-good-to-be true for Wichita man

WICHITA–A Wichita man thought he got a great bargain when he booked a round-trip flight in first class from Wichita to Sydney, Australia for a trip in March. Turns out the bargain was too good to be true.

Royce Smith, a Wichita State University assistant professor, acted immediately when he found a deal for $599 each way on American Airlines. He booked the trip and charged it to his credit card.

Three or four days later, Smith got a call from the airline saying there had been a mistake.  He could either pay a discounted fare to fly first class or business class, transfer to economy class for the same price or get a refund and a $200 travel voucher for future travel.

Smith says the airline is running “roughshod over passengers,” and breaching a contract it made on the ticket sale.

For its part, American says that fare filing errors are rare, but not unprecedented. A first-class round-trip ticket to Sydney costs about $20,000, said American spokesman Tim Smith in an e-mail. It was briefly sold for $1,200.  Smith didn’t say how many customers booked the trip, other than it was in the “very low three figures.”

“While we regret the error, we feel this situation clearly falls into the category of an obvious mistake that most people would view as ‘something that is too good to be true,’” Smith said.

India wants information on Boeing tankers; Boeing partners on bioenergy research

Boeing has received requests for information from India’s federal government for six refueling tankers  supplying six refueling tankers, according to a report by Dow Jones news service.

If successful, it would expand Boeing’s presence in a growing market for aerial refuelers.

“We will do a detailed evaluation of the request for interest from the Indian government, study our inventory, and accordingly inform the government,” Vivek Lall, vice president and country head of defense and space and security at Boeing India, told Dow Jones.

Boeing Wichita has modified and delivered four tankers to Japan and is working on the modification of four tankers to Italy. Boeing is also in a contest to provide the U.S. Air Force with aerial refuelers.

In other news, Boeing said today that it is partnering to build a major research institution and demonstration project in Abu Dhabi dedicated to sustainable energy solutions.

Boeing has partnered with Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Etihad Airways and Honeyell’s UOP.

Initially, the Institute will undertake research projects that combine the arid saline-rich environment of Abu Dhabi with saltwater farming practices.

Belite Aircraft to unveil two new models of its Belite ultralight

Belite Aircraft in Wichita plans to unveil two new ultralight aircraft models at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., this week. The show runs Jan. 21 to 24.

Belite Aircraft CEO James Wiebe says the new models, called the Trike and Superlite, “will provide recreational flyers with an easy-to-land or a higher performance variant of the Belite 254.”

Tiahrt calls for Napolitano’s dismissal

WICHITA–U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt is one of 10 members of Congress who sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to immediately dismiss Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for what he calls “lack of attention to the threat of terrorism before and after the attempted Christmas Day bombing on Flight 253.”

A timid, lackluster approach – as demonstrated by Napolitano – makes the U.S. increasingly vulnerable, Tiahrt said in a statement.

“There are a lot of differing opinions about what needs to be done, but there is one thing we should all agree on – Janet Napolitano is not fit to be Secretary of Homeland Security,” the  letter to Obama said.

Check out what the Boeing 787 will look like with different airlines

This is pretty cool! Check out what the 787 will look like painted in the color schemes of each airline that will operate the Dreamliner.

Just scroll down the page, then click on the aircrafts’ tails to see what the planes will look like when they’re in operation.  You can click on each plane for a 3-D look.

Rogue aviation network smuggles drugs, links to al-Qaida

According to a disturbing report by Reuters, a growing fleet of clandestine aircraft are crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean bringing tons of drugs from cocaine-producing areas to West Africa and Sahel, where the drugs are funneled across the Sahara Desert and into Europe.

The aviation network has expanded in the past year and now likely includes several Boeing 727 aircraft, according to Alexandre Schmidt, regional representative for West and Central Africa for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Reuters said.

“When you have this high capacity for transporting drugs into West Africa, this means that you have the capacity to transport as well other goods, so it is definitely a threat to security anywhere in the world,” Schmidt told Reuters.

The other goods include weapons that militant organizations smuggle onto the aircraft, the report said.

Last month, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime told a special session of the UN Security Council that drugs were being traded by “terrorists and anti-government forces” to fund their operations from the Andes, to Asia and the African Sahel, Reuters said.

In December, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials arrested three West African men in a sting operation in Ghana. The men were extradited to New York on drug trafficking and terrorism charges.  They  are accused of plotting to transport cocaine across Africa with the intent to support al-Qaida, its local affiliate AQIM and the FARC, according to the report.

Fourth Wichita-modified tanker delivered to Japan

The last of four Boeing Wichita modified KC-767 aerial refueling tankers has been delivered to the Japan Ministry of Defense, Boeing said.

The fourth tanker was flown to Japan on Dec. 20 from Wichita. Boeing’s partner on the program, Itochu Corp., gave the tanker to Japan Ministry of Defense officials on Friday.

Boeing delivered the first three KC-767 tankers in February 2008, March 2008 and March 2009.

Boeing Wichita has three tankers in flight test for the Italian Air Force and one undergoing modifications.

Wichita Aero Club luncheon to feature National Aeronautic Association president

The  Wichita Aero Club is hosting its first luncheon of 2010 with keynote speaker Jonathan Gaffney, president of the National Aeronautic Association.

The NAA is the record-keeper for U.S. aviation. All records set in the air must be sanctioned by the organization’s Contest & Records department. The group provides observers for many record attempts and compiles the data necessary to certify the records.

The luncheon will be held at noon Tuesday, Jan. 19 at the Wichita Airport Hilton. Tickets may be obtained online at or by calling 316-641-5962.