Monthly Archives: June 2012

Boeing appoints new head of commercial aircraft division

The head of Boeing’s commercial airplane global sales and customer support, Raymond Conner, is the new president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Conner, 57, replaces Jim Albaugh, 62, who has announced his retirement from the company on Oct. 1.  The change is effective immediately.

Albaugh will help with the transition until his retirement date.

Conner began his career at Boeing 34 years ago as an airplane mechanic on the 727 program.

“Ray’s breadth and depth of experience in commercial airplanes is unmatched in our industry,” Boeing president and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement.  “He has built airplanes, sold airplanes, serviced airplanes, managed our largest programs, knows our customers extremely well, and is respected by our employees. He is the natural next leader of our growing commercial airplanes business, and this move is consistent with our executive succession plan.”

Conner served as vice president of Boeing’s supply chain management and operations, where he oversaw business conducted with thousands of global suppliers and the performance of Boeing’s in-house manufacturing, quality, fabrication and propulsion systems divisions. He also oversaw the development of Boeing’s production and assembly facilities in South Carolina.

Conner has also served as vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 777 and 747 programs.

Last year, he was a leader in negotiating a four-year contract extension with Boeing’s largest union, the Machinists.

Albaugh joined Rockwell Corp.’s defense and space business in 1975. Boeing acquired Rockwell in 1996.

Albaugh served as president of Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power, president and CEO of Boeing Space and Communications and president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.



After a 10-week strike, Machinists at Lockheed Martin to vote on proposal

After a 10-week strike, Machinists union members at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth vote Thursday on whether to accept the company’s four-year agreement.

The proposal to striking Machinists is the “best offer” it could get, union officials told the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

But the offer “can hardly be construed as a victory for the Machinists,” the report said.

It lacks a pension plan for new employees, a major reason the union recommended the work stoppage, it said.

The offer contains a savings plan instead of a defined benefit pension.

It also contains one additional health care benefit plan for workers to choose from, a traditional point-of-service plan.

Union negotiators agreed to recommend the contract after a federal mediator, which had attended the negotiations, said it was “is absolutely the best offer that we can obtain from Lockheed Martin at this time,” the Fort Worth Start Telegram said.

Union members vote Thursday.

Here are highlights from the proposal.


Cessna’s “Discover Flying Challenge” launches

Eight pilots took off Saturday from Cessna’s Independence plant to begin traveling the country in the 162 Skycatcher.

The goal is to promote flying and Cessna’s light sport aircraft.

Each pilot, graduates of university flying programs around the country, has a separate region.

They will reunite at the Experimental Aviation Association’s AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisc., in late July.

For information and to follow their adventures, go to

Embraer, AVIC forge joint venture to build business jets in China

Brazil-based Embraer and the Aviation Industry Corp. of China have signed an agreement to build Embraer’s Legacy 600/650 executive jets in China.

Embraer said it will use the infrastructure, financial resources and work force of its joint venture, Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co., which began in 2002.

The deal was signed during a visit to Brazil by China Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

Embraer also announced an order for 10 Legacy 650 jets with ICBC Leasing, including five firm orders and five options.

The order makes ICBC Leasing the launch customer of HEAI’s Legacy 600/650 program, the company said.

With the deal, Embraer has 159 firm orders from China for commercial and executive jets.

Report: Pentagon budget cuts could eliminate almost 1 million jobs

About $100 billion in automatic budget cuts set to hit the Pentagon in January would eliminate about 1 million jobs by 2014, the National Association of Manufacturers warns.

The losses would include about 750,000 private-sector positions, including abut 100,000 jobs in manufacturing, said the report by the Seattle Times.

Defense contractors and smaller suppliers are concerned about the cuts.

By law, defense contractors must notify employees in advance if they are going to lose their jobs. In many states, including Kansas. the requirement is 60 days.

With sequestration scheduled to take effect Jan. 2, unless action is taken, “You’re going to see pink slips flying in October from contractors across the country,” Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., told the Seattle Times.



Three Kansas teams flying in women’s air race

Three Kansas teams are flying in the 2012 Air Race Classic, an all-women race that began Tuesday.

The 2,330 nautical-mile race started in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and ends in Batavia, Ohio.

Fifty-five planes are registered.

Contestants typically have four days of flying in daylight hours to reach the final destination.

Each plane is given a handicap speed, and the goal is to have the actual ground speed as far over the handicap speed as possible, according to information from race organizers.

Pilots have leeway to work with the elements, such as holding out for better weather.

“The objective is to fly the ‘perfect’ cross-country,” race information said.

Taking part are local pilots Janet Yoder and Joyce Wilson, who are flying a Cessna 182 Skylane.

Two teams are representing Kansas State University: Nicole Lordemann and Tonya Hodson; and Megan Henderson and Summer Gajewski.

Both are flying Cessna 172 airplanes.



GE Reports: How a father-daughter team learned to fix jet engines in Kansas

Interesting story of how a Kansas daughter followed her father’s footsteps in the repair of jet engines at Strother Field.

National Institute for Aviation Research to host CATIA V6 engineering day

Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research is hosting a CATIA Engineering Day Thursday to demonstrate features of the new Version 6 software for aerospace engineering.

NIAR’s CAD/CAM Lab will hold in-depth interviews, live demonstrations, hands-on training and customer project presentations from Cessna Aircraft and Spirit AeroSystems, it said.

The event is co-sponsored by Dassault Systemes and Inceptra. It is free to CATIA users.

Pre-registration is required.

Contact Glenda Campbell at 978-3283 or for information.


Hawker Beechcraft competitor Sierra Nevada files lawsuit in light air support contract

Sierra Nevada Corp. filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking the reinstatement of a light air support contract from the Air Force.

The suit was filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The action is in response to a lawsuit filed by Hawker Beechcraft following its disqualification in the competition.

The Air Force set aside the contract to Sierra Nevada in March, opened an investigation into the source selection process and reopened the competition.

“The cancellation of the contract was an extreme response to what appears to be paperwork errors on the part of the USAF,” Sierra Nevada said in a statement.

Sierra Nevada alleges the revised Request for Proposal is “tilted in favor of the competition.”

The company has not received adequate explanation or justification for the contract’s termination, it said.

Sierra Nevada has partnered with Brazil-based Embraer to offer the Super Tucano to the Air Force.

Hawker Beechcraft’s bid is for the AT-6, an upgraded T-6 trainer used to train Air Force and Navy pilots.


Bombardier receives order for five Learjet 75 aircraft

In what is good news for Wichita, Bombardier has received an order for five of the new Learjet 75 aircraft from London Air Services, a Canadian charter service provider.

The order is valued at about $65 million based on list prices.

Bombardier announced the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 light business jets in May at the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.

The planes upgrade and replace the Learjet 40 and 45 models, with improved avionics, engines and a new winglet design.

The two planes, which will be assembled in Wichita, will offer greater range, more speed, new interior styling, lighter weight, and, because they will have improved fuel efficiency, lower operating costs, Ralph Acs, head of Bombardier’s Wichita Learjet plant, said at the time.

The Learjet 75 will enter service in the first half of next year, followed by the Learjet 70.