Monthly Archives: July 2013

SPEEA to hold meetings for Spirit AeroSystems laid-off workers

Spirit AeroSystems’ engineering and professional and technical union is holding a series of meetings today (Wednesday) to help represented employees laid off last week.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace will hold the meetings at its office at 973 S. Glendale on the lower level of Parklane Shopping Center.

Representatives from the state’s Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance, the Wichita Workforce Center and Kansas Consumer Credit Counseling Service will be on hand to give an overview and answer questions.

Spirit laid off about 360 salaried support and managers on Thursday, the first major cut in its company’s history. That includes more than 200 SPEEA-represented employees.

Because of limited seating, meeting times are based on the first letter of the last name.

A-H 10 a.m. to noon

I-R 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

S-Z 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

EagleMed expands into Alaska

EagleMed will manage the aircraft of Alaska Regional Hospital’s LifeFlight air ambulance program, which extends the Wichita-based company’s North American reach into Alaska, the company said.

LifeFlight is Alaska Regional Hospital’s fixed-wing medevac service based in Anchorage, Alaska.

EagleMed assumed responsibility for the operations July 15.

The hospital will manage clinical care, customer services and business relations, while EagleMed will operate the aircraft, a twin-engine King Air B200, and provide the pilots.

EagleMed now has 28 locations in 10 states. It operates a fleet of 15 medically equipped helicopters and 15 King Air aircraft and employs about 400.


Beechcraft picks former Lockheed executive Jim Grant as vice president of military programs

Beechcraft Corp. has added a position to its military division with the appointment of Jim Grant to senior vice president of military programs.

In his role, Grant is responsible for new business initiatives in Beechcraft’s three military organizations that includes trainer/attack, special mission and global mission support.

He reports directly to Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture.

Grant is a former command pilot with the Air Force and has more than 5,000 flight hours in a variety of combat airplanes. He held command and senior staff positions at Headquarters Air Force, Wing and Squadron level.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1995, Grant joined Lockheed Martin where he held various leadership positions, including most recently serving as vice president of new business.

In that role, he was responsible for domestic and international pursuit of orders for the company’s Air Mobility, Special Operations Forces and Maritime lines of business.

Grant holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. He graduated from the U.S. Army War College, the USAF War College and the executive development program at Goizueta Business School at Emory University.


NBAA 2013 convention to add indoor aircraft static display

For the first time, the National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention and exhibition will feature an indoor static display of 10 to 15 light aircraft inside the show’s convention hall.

The convention will be held Oct. 22 to 24 in Las Vegas.

The event will continue to offer its traditional outdoor static display, to be held at Henderson Executive Airport. About 100 airplanes will be on static display there.

About 25,000 business aviation professionals are expected to attend the convention.

The indoor static display will feature lighter aircraft, including single-engine piston planes, light turboprops and helicopters, the NBAA said. It will be steps away from the main exhibit floor inside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The organization has reconfigured the exhibit hall layout to accommodate the display.

“Attendees will appreciate the convenient location inside the hall, and the unprecedented access and higher level of integration with the indoor exhibits this display will feature,” Linda Peters, NBAA vice president of exhibits said in a statement.



Airbus A350 XWB reaches 92 flight test hours

Airbus’ new A350 XWB has accumulated 92 hours of flight testing since its maiden flight on June 14, the company reports.

The early phase of testing has “resulted in the clearance of the entire flight envelope and initial testing of all key systems,” the company said.

Experimental test pilots will fly about 2,500 total flight test hours with a fleet of five development airplanes.

The first A350 aircraft has been fitted with heavy test instrumentation and is being used for handling qualities evaluation along with icing, systems and powerplant testing.

A second test plane will be used for performance measurement, high altitude, hot and cold weather testing and systems and powerplant tests.

The third and fifth airplane will be equipped with a cabin and carry out cabin and cabin systems tests, including early long flights and route-proving testing.

The fourth plane will focus on external noise and lightning testing and pilot training for first customer and maintenance teams.

Entry into service is scheduled for the second half of 2014. Airbus has 678 firm orders from 34 customers for the airplane.

Kansas Aviation Museum new exhibit tells story of early airlines in Wichita

The Kansas Aviation Museum is hosting an opening for a new mini-exhibit called The Story of Airlines at the Wichita Air Terminal.

The exhibit features the airlines — TWA, Braniff and Continental –  that resided at the historic Wichita terminal during its 20 years as a commercial hub.

The new display is an extension of a current exhibit showcasing the terminal’s construction and visitors.The terminal is now home to the museum.

Leona Harbstreet, who worked with Braniff during that time, will be on hand at the event.

The opening will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at the museum at 3350 S. George Washington Blvd. A brief dedication ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free to museum members The price of regular admission will be charged to nonmembers. Memberships are also available during the event for a $10 discount.


Small Airplane Revitalization Act passes out of committee, now goes to House

The Small Airplane Revitalization Act has crossed a major hurdle by unanimously passing out of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee.

It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

If passed, the bill promises to double safety and cut certification costs in half for light general aviation airplanes, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has said.

It addresses a number of challenges facing the general aviation industry caused by outdated regulation, including the steady decline of pilots, flight activity and the sales of new, small general aviation airplanes, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who introduced the bill, said.

“General aviation has never asked for a bailout, but we can cut red tape and at the same time improve safety, effectively revitalizing the industry by cutting the cost of new planes,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The existing outdated certification process needlessly increases the cost of safety and technology upgrades by up to 10 times. With this bill, we can ensure that the general aviation industry has what it needs to thrive.”

The passage was praised by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

“The bill will help industry and FAA develop and adopt more effective, consensus-based compliance standards that would spur manufacturers’ investment in aircraft design and help put critical life-saving equipment into the existing fleet of airplanes,” GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement.

Over the past 18 months, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, made up of aviation experts and industry representatives, worked to create a regulatory environment to help revitalize the health and safety of new and existing small airplanes, Pompeo said.

The bill requires the implementation of those recommendations by the end of 2015.

It has 31 bipartisan co-sponsors. A companion Senate bill was introduced in May.

Piper Aircraft test flies plane on automotive fuel

Vero Beach, Fla.-based Piper Aircraft has completed flight tests of a Piper Archer single-engine airplane powered by automotive gasoline.

Piper worked with Airworthy AutoGas in Phoenix. The flight test was conducted at Piper’s Vero Beach plant.

“As we search for more environmentally friendly fuels than 100LL to power piston aircraft, Piper wanted to take the next step with Lycoming and Airworthy AutoGas to operationally prove the 93UL concept under rigid test conditions from Vero Beach,” Piper president and CEO Simon Caldecott said in a statement. “Our next operational effort will include cross-country applications, working with Airworthy AutoGas to ensure availability en route.

The plane was powered by 93 octane premium unleaded gasoline. The Archer holds 48 gallons of fuel.

One of the goals is to reduce the cost of flying, Airworthy AutoGas said.

Aviation fuel is traditionally more expensive that automotive fuel.

Replacing leaded aviation fuel with unleaded fuel has long been a goal of the aviation industry, which has been searching for solutions for aircraft.


Soaring contest draws 20 glider pilots from around the country

Twenty glider pilots from around the country are taking part in a low-performance soaring contest this week at the Sunflower Glider Port near Yoder.

The pilots of the vintage planes compete daily through Sunday. The race began on Tuesday.

The winner will be announced about 7 p.m. Sunday.

The pilots line their planes up on the runway between noon and 2 p.m. to begin their daily competition, returning between about 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Each day they are given a different route. Thursday, for example, they flew from the glider port to Anthony and Arlington before returning to the home base, said Lyn Boone, one of the organizers.

The public is invited to come out and watch the event.

The glider port is located one mile south and one mile west of Yoder off of Red Rock Road next to the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.


Boeing delivers 169 commercial airplanes in second quarter

Boeing and its suppliers have had a busy second quarter.

The company delivered 169 commercial airplanes to customers in April, May and June for a total of 306 planes delivered so far this year.

Deliveries included 116 Boeing 737s in the quarter, six 747s, eight 767s, 23 777s and 16 787 Dreamliners.

Boeing took orders for 570 jetliners in the second quarter, giving it a multi-year backlog of 4,757 orders for commercial planes.

That includes 3,445 orders for 737s, including 1,431 orders or the 737 Max, an upgraded 737 with new engines.

Sales and deliveries are important to Wichita’s Spirit AeroSystems, which builds parts of all Boeing commercial planes.