Category Archives: aviation industry

UBS report: Business jet activity continues upward trend

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Business jet activity is continuing on a positive trend, and that’s good news for the industry.

The number of business jet takeoffs and landings in January was an estimated 4 percent higher than in January 2012, UBS analyst David Strauss wrote in an analyst report Monday.

The higher activity follows a strong December and has grown at a “solid rate” for six out of the past seven months, Strauss wrote.

Strauss estimates that average daily utilization of young business jets, jets from zero to five years of age, is nearly back to “pre-crisis levels.”

Utilization of the older fleet, however, is still declining.

By market segment, utilization of long-range business jets moved 11 percent higher year over year in January, mid-range business jets rose 4 percent higher, and short-range business jets rose 2 percent.

Takeoffs and landings increased the most at Embraer, with a 30 percent increase year over year.

That was followed by Gulfstream and Bombardier at 5 percent, Hawker at 4 percent, Dassault at 3 percent and Cessna at 2 percent.

UBS expects the North American market to continue to improve driven by pent-up demand by corporations to replace their aircraft.

Kansas Transportation secretary announces aviation committee appointees

Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King has named new members to the Kansas Aviation Advisory and Review Committee.

The committee advises the secretary on aviation matters and reviews current and proposed programs.

Members include Kansas pilots, airport representatives, air ambulance personnel and others.

Members include Missy Knott of Newton, chief operating officer of LifeTeam; Shelli Swanson of Salina, Salina Airport Authority director of administration and finance; Jason Wojteczko of Derby, owner of Compass Rose Aviation; Andy Hineman of Scott City, Spencer Flight and Education Center; Brian Youngers of Wichita, Signature Flight Support station manager; Ken Brock of Pittsburg, owner and founder of Names and Numbers; Kurt Barnhart of Salina, Kansas State University Salina, and Tim Tyree of the Kansas Association of Aerial Applicators and owner of Tyree Ag of Kinsley.

Nate Hinkel has been hired as marketing and outreach manager in the Division of Aviation. Hinkel will be based in Wichita.


Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter program hits major milestone


Courtesy image

Courtesy image

Sikorsky Aircraft’s CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program has hit a major milestone in its development.

Sikorsky has powered on the engines and spun the rotor head on the first prototype, the company said Tuesday.

Spirit AeroSystems builds the fuselage for the CH-53K in Wichita.

The helicopter is being developed for the Marine Corps.

The helicopter, called the Ground Test Vehicle, will undergo ground testing for about two years with Sikorsky and Marine test pilots at the controls.

It has been anchored to the ground at a remote outdoor test site in West Palm Beach, Fla., and outfitted with sensors to measure and verify the ability to operate safely under its own power, Sikorsky said.

Four more test aircraft are being prepared for flight tests, commencing in late 2014.

The first CH-53K is expected to be in operation in 2019.

Plans are for 200 aircraft, but production quantities will be based each year on funding allocations set by Congress and the Department of Defense funding priorities.

The Marine Corps plans to have eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements, it said.

Airbus Americas posts jobs for Mobile assembly line

Airbus has posted its first hourly manufacturing positions for its assembly line in Mobile, Ala., the planemaker said Tuesday.

Airbus is looking for aircraft structure/installation mechanics, installers for aircraft cabin furnishings and aircraft electricians.

Last year, Airbus broke ground for an assembly line for its A320 family of commercial airplanes in Mobile. Major construction has begun.

Successful candidates will have two weeks of pre-employment training. If successful with the training, they will go for on-the-job training in Hamburg, Germany, Toulouse, France, and possibly Tianjin, China, before returning to Mobile for work.

Starting pay for all the positions range from $13 an hour to $22 an hour plus benefits based on skills, experience and education.

Hiring for manufacturing jobs will continue throughout 2014, the company said.

Spirit AeroSystems CEO receives pay, incentive raise

Spirit AeroSystems’ board of directors has increased the compensation of Larry Lawson, the company’s CEO and president.

The board raised Lawson’s annual base salary from $1 million to $1.05 million.

In addition, Lawson will be entitled to receive an award under Spirit’s Long Term Incentive Plan for 2014 and 2015 with a value equal to 435 percent of his annual base salary.

That’s an increase from 400 percent.

The change was listed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

On Thursday, Spirit, Wichita’s largest private employer, recorded a net loss of $587 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, in part because of additional charges on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program.

That compares to a profit of $61 million for the same time a year ago.

Spirit took a total of $546 million in pretax charges during the fourth quarter on a variety of programs.

For the year, Spirit recorded a loss of $621 million, compared to a profit of $35 million in 2012. Revenue for 2013 increased 10 percent to $6 billion.

For 2014, Spirit is forecasting revenue of $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion, based on Boeing’s 2014 delivery guidance of 715 to 725 commercial airplanes. Airbus is expected to deliver similar levels.

Yingling Aviation modifying King Air for EagleMed medical flights

Yingling Aviation in Wichita is in the midst of converting a Beechcraft King Air B200 for critical care emergency medical flights for EagleMed.

It’s Wichita-based EagleMed’s 16th King Air dedicated for air medical transport.

Yingling is removing the executive interior and installing air ambulance advanced life support systems approved for medical operations, according to EagleMed.

Workers are also installing a new forward cabinet for medical supplies, an aft cabinet for stretcher storage and supplies, side-facing passenger seats, LED lighting, a tracking system and a custom designed cabin intercom system.

The plane will be delivered later this month.

The pressurized turboprop is capable of flying in instrument conditions at a speed of 265 nautical miles per hour and has a range of about 800 miles round trip.


Boeing’s 747-8 commemorates Seahawks appearance in Super Bowl

seahawksBoeing is celebrating the Seattle Seahawks appearance in the Super Bowl with a specially painted 747-8 freighter.

The livery commemorates the National Football Conference Championship and the team’s appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks.

The 747-8 is owned by Boeing and used for flight testing.

Here are some fun facts provided by Boeing:

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s longest pass this season, at 80 yards, was almost the same length as the 747-8 fuselage at 243.5 feet.

Russell Wilson threw for 3,357 yards this season, similar to the runway takeoff distance of the 747-8.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin can dash the full length of the 180-foot  747-8 main deck in less than seven seconds.

The 747-8 can cover the length of a football field in one second at takeoff.

Wichita Aero Club gala brought some quotable moments

Saturday’s Wichita Aero Club gala drew a packed house as it honored Cessna Aircraft chairman emeritus Russ Meyer for Meyer’s contributions to aviation.

It also had a number of quotable moments. Here’s a few:


“He’s got great charisma, assuming it’s OK for a guy to say that about another guy.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran in a speech honoring Russ Meyer.

“If I can (say) Russ Meyer is my friend, my standing goes up a lot. That’s very important for someone in the business I’m in right now.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran

“He had a huge smile on his face. He looked right by me and said, ‘Russ.’”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen, who had been impressed with himself that he had secured a difficult-to-get appointment with then U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, on Snow’s greeting.

“It is very appropriate for Russ to receive this honor, because it’s hard to imagine someone who’s done more for his ‘adopted hometown’ of Wichita than he has. He is one of the most significant figures in general aviation history, and has probably had the largest impact on aviation policy than any other single person in the United States.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“Russ’s huge record of accomplishments extends well beyond aviation. “n fact, the last two times that a sitting U.S. president has visited Wichita, it has been at the invitation of Russ Meyer, and to see the philanthropic projects he’s been deeply involved in.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“One of these days, we’re going to learn that an award like this should go to the wife.”

—Russ Meyer, in accepting the Wichita Aero Club Gala award, on his wife, Helen.

“If you were anyplace in the world, if you looked up and saw two airplanes flying, chances were 50 percent that one of them was a Cessna.”

— Russ Meyer on the go-go years for general aviation during the late 1970s.

“It was not a campaign, it was really a crusade to save the single-engine market.”

—Russ Meyer on efforts to pass the General Aviation Revitalization bill. After its passage, Cessna restarted piston airplane production.

“I promise you this: If I were 25 years old today, I’d pursue a career in this industry in a heartbeat.”

– Russ Meyer during his speech at the gala.

Auction, including Cessna “Bird Dog”, classic truck, brings $1 million for Armed Forces Foundation

Cessna Bird Dog and Dodge M37 truck A restored 1959 Cessna L-19E “Bird Dog” and a restored Dodge M37 truck were sold together in an auction Saturday to raise money for the Armed Forces Foundation.

The two were sold for $750,000 to a Cessna customer who wishes to stay anonymous, a Cessna spokeswoman said.

Combined with donations from the audience, the auction, held by Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, Ariz., raised $1 million for the Foundation.

Cessna donated the classic 55-year-old airplane, one of 130 airworthy L-19 aircraft left in the world.

Kansas City-based Kansas Aircraft Corp., partnered with Cessna to locate the plane and arrange for Cessna to buy it, Cessna said.

It had been used in France as a trainer and brought to the U.S. from France in 1984.

Okoboji Classic Cars of Spencer, Iowa, donated the three-quarter ton pickup truck after working 2,500 hours to restore it. The company had discovered it sitting in a field.

The plane and truck were auctioned in a prime time broadcast on Saturday.

The money will be used to support the Armed Forces Foundation’s efforts to educate the public about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.


Aviation Legacy Awards to go to two Wichitans for Special Olympics Airlift work

Wichitans Marilyn Richwine and Rhonda Fullerton will be in good company Friday when actor Harrison Ford presents them with an Aviation Legacy Award for their work coordinating Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Special Olympics Airlift.

The awards are part of the 11th annual “Living Legends of Aviation” awards produced by the nonprofit Kiddie Hawk Air Academy.

Living Legends of Aviation will honor Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx with its “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award,” and Bruce Whitman, chairman and CEO of FlightSafety International with the “Lifetime Aviation Industry Leader Award.”

Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, a Medal of Honor recipient, will receive the Freedom of Flight Award, and actor Morgan Freeman will narrate a tribute to Experimental Aircraft Association founder Paul Poberezny in a Flown West segment of the program.

Seven Legends of Aviation will be inducted including Allan McArtor, chairman of Airbus Americas; David Hurley, chairman emeritus of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum; John Uczekaj, CEO of Aspen Avionics; David Neeleman, founder of Jet Blue and Azul Airlines; Roy Morgan, founder of Air Methods, and actor and pilot Treat Williams.

Jack Erickson, the inventor of the SkyCrane and a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot will be honored as the Bell Helicopter’s Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award honoree.

The event will be held Friday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.