Monthly Archives: December 2012

United Express to begin nonstop service from Wichita to Los Angeles

United Express is beginning daily nonstop service between Wichita and Los Angeles International Airport beginning May 2, according to Wichita Mid-Continent Airport officials.

The airline will operate two daily departures and arrivals between the two cities. Los Angeles is Wichita’s fourth top passenger market.

The service will be operated by its regional partner, SkyWest Airlines, which will operate the flights using 66-seat Canadair CRJ-700 regional jets.

The flights are in addition to United’s daily service from Wichita to Chicago, Denver and Houston.

“We wish to thank United Airlines for recognizing the demand for service to the LAX market and bringing their valuable resources to Wichita,” said Valerie Wise, Wichita Airport Authority air service and business development manager, in a statement. “This will be a popular service for the business travelers in our region.”

United’s senior manager of market analysis Martin Kammerman said in a statement that the airline looks forward to serving the growing business market between Wichita and Southern California.




Wichita Aero Club’s on-air summit to look at big stories, issues of the year

The Wichita Aero Club is hosting its annual On-Air Summit Wednesday a the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

A panel discussion will be held by six editors and writers of national aviation publications.

They will speak about a variety of topics facing various segments of the aviation industry and about the big stories of 2012 and of the year ahead.

Mac McClellan, of EAA Publications; Bill Garvey of the Aviation Week Group; Mike Potts of Professional Pilot; Robert Goyer of Flying; Stephen Trimble of Flight International and Thomas Haines, of AOPA Pilot, will make up the panel. It will be moderated by yours truly, Molly McMillin of the Wichita Eagle.

The summit begins at 11:45 a.m. and will run until 1:30 p.m.

For reservations go to or call 681-4491.


Business and trade groups urge Congress to extend “bonus depreciation”

The National Business Aviation Association is joining dozens of organizations urging Congress to extend accelerated or “bonus” depreciation on a variety of capital equipment used in business, including airplanes.

The action speeds up depreciation schedules allowing businesses to depreciate 50 percent of the cost in the first year.

Bonus depreciation is set to expire at the end of this year.

“It is imperative that we continue the 50 percent bonus depreciation…for 2013 and beyond,” the trade groups said in a letter to leaders of both houses of Congress. “This will provide some certainty to U.S. businesses to allow them to continue to make capital investments, which in turn will create more jobs and help ward off a possible recession in 2013.”

The amount of money businesses invested in new equipment and software was stagnant in the third quarter of 2012 for the first time in three years, NBAA said.

“Businesses need to invest in major assets to help keep America’s economy on the right track,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said in a statement.

The letter is signed by representatives of airlines, builders, contractors, railroads, equipment, communication and other industries.

Embraer’s first U.S.-built Phenom 300 makes first flight

Embraer’s first U.S.-assembled Phenom 300 light business jet took its maiden flight this week.

The aircraft was assembled at Embraer’s Melbourne, Fla. plant and will be used by the Brazil-based company as a flight demonstrator.

Embraer officials hail the flight as a milestone for its 23-month-old U.S. production facility.

“The reduction in production time to half of what it took for the first Phenom 100 means the processes we put in place for production have now matured,” Phil Krull, managing director of the site, said in a statement.

The plant is on schedule to produce eight planes per month as it ramps up to full production in the coming months, Krull said.

Embraer opened the facility in February 2011. In December 2011, it opened a 58,000-square-foot customer center at the site.

Last month, it began construction on a $26 million, 67,000 square-foot engineering and technical center. Completion is expected in mid-2014.

The $50 million investment in the site, along with investments in manufacturing elsewhere, reflects Embraer’s commitment to business aviation, the company said.

Boeing Dreamliner makes emergency landing; FAA issues directives for inspections

The Federal Aviation Association issued an airworthiness directive Wednesday requiring inspections of fuel line connectors on Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners.

The FAA issued the directive after receiving reports of fuel leaks on two in-service 787 and the discovery of several improperly assembled engine fuel feed manifold couplings on in-service and production airplanes, it said in the directive.

“These conditions, if not corrected, could result in fuel leaks, which could lead to fuel exhaustion, engine power loss or shutdown, or leaks on hot engine parts that could lead to a fire,” the directive said.

Cowen and Co. analyst Cai von Rumohr noted in a report that 787 customers have already voluntarily completed the inspections on about half of the aircraft delivered.

On Tuesday,  a United Airlines’ flight bound for Newark, N.J., from Houston made an emergency landing in New Orleans after pilots received a “fault”  message.

The plane, which was delivered to the airline Nov. 27., landed safely.

The incident is under investigation. United is working with the FAA to determine its cause, reports said.

The FAA’s directive requires ensuring that lockwire is installed correctly on the engine fuel feed manifold couplings and inspection of the assembly of the engine fuel feed manifold and couplings.

“The incident still is being investigated but looks like it may be minor and (an) easily correctable introductory glitch,” von Rumohr said in his report.




Air Force seeking contractor to modify Caravans for airdrop program

The Air Force is seeking a contractor to modify two Cessna Caravan 208 aircraft for airdrop operations.

The planes will be used to support an “Afghanistan C-208 Airdrop Program,” according to the Air Force’s Federal Business Opportunities website .

The government will provide two Caravans equipped with cargo hauling production features, such as a plywood floor, cargo barricade, nets and tie down straps for the air drop program.

The contractor will ferry the planes from Shindand, Afghanistan and modify them with roll-up doors, red and green jump and airdrop lights, cockpit control and status panels for the door and lights, roller floors, radar altimeters and other equipment.

Air Force Materiel Command at Wright Patterson Air Force Base is the office seeking the work.


Boeing’s 737 sets delivery, order records

Courtesy photo

Boeing announced that it’s set a record for the number of 737 deliveries made year-to-date with the delivery of its 377th 737 Next Generation single-aisle aircraft.

The plane was delivered to United Airlines on Monday.

The delivery broke the company’s previous 2010 record of 376 deliveries.

In October, the 737 set a record for the number of net orders in a year with orders of 1,031 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX airplanes.

The number broke Boeing’s record set in 2007 when it recorded 846 net orders.

The 737 is important to Wichita’s Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the 737′s fuselage, nacelles and pylons.

Boeing’s commercial airplanes division reorganizes, adds airplane development group

Boeing’s commercial airplane division is restructuring to adjust to a historic boost in airplane production and to help it manage five development programs at the same time.

A new organization called Airplane Development will focus on the development and certification of the 737 MAX, an upgraded version of the 737 airliner, the 767 tanker and the 787-9. It also will lead 777X and 787-10X development work, the company said in an e-mail Monday to employees.

The new organization will be led by Scott Fancher, who will serve as vice president of the group.

Boeing’s South Carolina facility will also transition into the Airplane Programs organization.

And Boeing’s Manufacturing and Quality group will be reconfigured as separate organizations.

The alignment will help the company clarify responsibility, streamline decision-making and accelerate progress, the company said in an e-mail from Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.