Category Archives: suppliers

Kaman Composites in Wichita supplies parts to Scorpion project

Kaman Composites is benefitting from Textron AirLand’s recently announced Scorpion project, a small military jet.

The Wichita company supplied a variety of components for the Scorpion prototype aircraft, Kaman said Tuesday.

That included the wing assembly, vertical and horizon stabilizers, wing fuel access panels, main landing gear doors and several closeout panels.

“Kaman is proud to have supported the development effort for the Scorpion program,” James Larwood, president of Kaman Aerosystems, said in a statement. “This new twin-jet aircraft is a cost effective solution for lower-threat battlefield and homeland security missions. Our efforts highlight the capabilities of our Wichita composites facility to produce a range of components and assemblies.”

Kaman is in a prime position to build parts for future Scorpion aircraft as well.

Textron unveiled the prototype of its first modern military jet last month. The jet will be used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and attack.

The Scorpion is being built by a new Textron division, Textron AirLand, a joint venture with AirLand Enterprises.

Cessna Aircraft is lending a big hand to the project.

Cessna designed and built the prototype in secrecy in Wichita beginning in early 2012.

Its first flight is scheduled for this year, and low-volume production is slated for 2015.

Testing and early production will be done in Wichita. Beyond that,it remains to be seen, company officials have said.

Spirit AeroSystems’ Mike King to serve as a consultant after June 30 retirement

Spirit AeroSystems executive Mike King will retire from the company effective June 30.

After his retirement, King, Spirit executive vice president and chief operations officer, will provide consulting and transition services to the company for a year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company announced in April King’s plans to retire, but a date had not been set.

As a consultant, King will be paid $120,000 in annual compensation for his services, the filing said.

King, 57, started working for Boeing Wichita in 1980, then joined Spirit after Boeing sold its Wichita commercial aircraft division in 2005, forming the stand-alone company.

Boeing praises suppliers on its 737 as it delivers 7,500th jet

Boeing is praising the role its suppliers play in the production of its popular 737 single-aisle jetliner, as it celebrates delivery of its 7,500th plane.

The Next Generation 737 contains about 400,000 parts per airplane built by 325 suppliers in 30 countries.

U.S. suppliers come from 41 states and Puerto Rico.

That includes the 737′s largest supplier, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita. Spirit builds the plane’s fuselage, pylons and thrust reversers.

It also builds wing components at its Tulsa facility.

Spirit ships the fuselages by rail to Renton, Wash., for completion.

“The success of the 737 shows what is possible when we partner with the world’s best aerospace companies,” Kent Fisher, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Our long-term competitiveness in the marketplace depends on a continued focus on quality, reliability and affordability.”

Boeing has projected demand for single-aisle airplanes over the next 20 years to total 23,240 jets valued at $2 trillion.

The company is increasing 737 production rates from 38 planes a month to 42 a month in the first half of 2014.

The 7,500th 737 to come off of the production line was delivered to Malindo Air in Malaysia.

Since its introduction, the company has taken orders for more than 10,500 737s from 265 customers.

A 737 takes off or lands every two seconds, according to Boeing.

In 2017, Boeing will begin deliveries of the 737 MAX, with new engines and more fuel efficiency.


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.


Mid-Continent Instruments to provide products for the Eurocopter

Mid-Continent Instruments’ work to expand its international business seems to be paying off.

The company has secured a contract with Eurocopter Deutschland to provide emergency power supply units for EC135 and EC145 civilian helicopters.

The units are from Mid-Continents’ new division, called TrueBlue Power, which is developing  power management units using lithium-ion chemistry. The units were chosen because they offer high performance, low maintenance, lower cost of ownership and a 63 weight savings over traditional lead-acid batteries, the company said.

“It is a great honor to have Eurocopter as our first European OEM customer for the MD835 Emergency Power Supply,” Mid-Continent director of sales Tom Genovese said in a statement.

Eurocopter Deutschland is a subsidiary of European Aeronautics Defense and Space Company, or EADS.

Cessna installs Winglet Technology winglets on 30th Citation X

Cessna Aircraft’s service center has completed the 30th installation of Winglet Technology’s elliptical winglets on a Citation X business jet.

Winglet Technology, based in Wichita, received a Supplemental Type Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for the retrofit in July 2009.

Since then, winglets have been installed on Citation Xs from Europe, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Brazil and Mexico, Winglet Technology said.

The winglets improve the range and aerodynamic performance of the aircraft, the company said. The winglets were also selected for the Citation Ten business jet, the upgraded version of the Citation X announced at October’s National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting and convention.

Cox Machine wins contract for 787 work for Spirit AeroSystems

There’s some celebrating to be done at Cox Machine. The Wichita parts supplier has won the single-biggest parts manufacturing package in its 50-year history from Spirit AeroSystems.

Under the seven-year contract, Cox will build parts for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

While Cox can’t reveal the value of the package, it means growth for Cox. It will add a dozen people to its 120 work force.

Piper Aircraft selects Wichita supplier for jet interior

Piper Aircraft has selected Wichita-based DeCrane Aerospace for the engineering and interior of its PiperJet single-engine light jet.

DeCrane will supply the “interior soft goods,” such as the carpeting, headliners and interior panels.

Piper plans to announce specific aircraft interior improvements for the jet during this year’s National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting and convention in Altanta.  It also will give an update of the program there. The convention is in October.

“Our team is engaged closely with the PiperJet team to seamlessly integrate interior improvements that we are excited to show at NBAA in October,” DeCrane CEO Roger Wolfe said in a statement.

First Cessna Citation X with winglets delivered

wingletsThe first Citation X to be fitted with elliptical winglets has been delivered. The winglets were designed by Wichita-based Winglet Technology in collaboration with Cessna.

The patented shape increases lift and reduces drag on the aircraft, which decreases fuel consumption and increases the plane’s speed and range, Cessna said.

Plans are underway to offer the winglet to be installed on Citation Xs at Cessna’s nine service centers in the U.S. and Europe. Cessna Parts Distribution will provide spares support for the installed winglet.

Resources key to Boeing 787 supplier success

There’s a big difference between the Vought facility in South Carolina that Boeing is acquiring and Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems: resources.

Both plants make key components on Boeing’s new 787.

“The problem at Vought wasn’t lack of experience,” said Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia. “They’ve been building major parts of Boeing jets since the late ’60s. The problem was resources.”

Vought had been forgotten by their owners and had minimal resources at their disposal, Aboulafia said.

In contrast, successful partners on the program such as Spirit had the needed financial backing to execute on the work and win new contracts, he said.

“When you trust people to do major design work, you better make sure they have the resources, and Vought didn’t,” Aboulafia said.

In contrast, Onex moved quickly to make Spirit a stand-alone company and push forward with an initial public offering, he said.

“It was all designed that they had the adequate capital base,” Aboulafia said.