Category Archives: Aviation

Boeing on the rise

Looks like Wall Street thinks the Machinists at Boeing are going to go back to work.

It’s been a good day-plus on the New York Stock Exchange for shares of Boeing. After gaining $6.55 to close at $48.91 Tuesday, Boeing is trading higher again today.

It’s still well below Boeing’s 52-week high of $98.71 but should be good news for a company that hasn’t had a lot lately.

Caffe Moderne owner’s “Quest” for a Staggerwing shows in her new mural

Caffe Moderne owner Janet Rine is on a “Quest.”

She is working hard to expand the Old Town restaurant to include a separate room for special events. The highlight of the room is an Art Deco-style mural painted by local artist Steve Murillo, called “The Quest.”     Rine’s goal, after the bills are paid, is eventually to use income from the room to buy a Beech Staggerwing like the one depicted in the mural.  “I want that Staggerwing,” Rine said.  In fact, she is calling the entire room the Quest Space. “This has been a quest for me to be able to afford an airplane.” The Staggerwing is one of eight airplanes depicted in the mural.

The room should be open in a couple of weeks.

Financial Post visits Wichita

A reporter from the Financial Post, a Canadian publication, recently visited Wichita to get the pulse of the city ahead of the presidential election. Here’s an exerpt:

Still, anxiety levels in this stoic Midwestern city have shot higher as the financial crisis rages around it and economic indicators show a sharp deterioration in U. S. and global growth.

For global growth has been the lifeblood of Wichita, which has leveraged a weak greenback to sell a stream of grains, business jets, navigation equipment and conveyor belts to a hungry and prosperous world. Exports, the silent strength of the U. S. economy in recent years, are also now at risk as this made-in-America crisis circles round to bite the domestic economy in the back.

You can read the article here.

India will need about 1,000 new airliners over the next 20 years

At the India Aviation 2008 exhibition and conference in Hyderabad, India, Boeing’s vice president of commercial airplane sales said that India will need 1,001 new commercial airplanes worth about $105 billion over the next two decades. That’s according to Boeing’s 2008 Market Outlook.

“The long-term fundamentals of growth that drive commercial aviation in India remain strong, despite the near-term challenges that face the country,” said Boeing’s Dinesh Keskar in a statement.

Traveling? Here’s a list of airports with free Wi-fi

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport offers travelers free Wi-fi connectivity. Go Wichita. That’s not the case everywhere. While at the the Atlanta airport recently, I discovered the charge for Wi-fi services there was $7.95. My flight was leaving soon, so thought I’d read instead of checking e-mail.

This morning, I ran across a blog with a list of airports that offer free Wi-fi connectivity. The list is long.

Thought I’d share.

The collateral damage of Boeing strike

I’m not going to try to tell you whether Boeing or the Machinists union is right in this strike that has now lasted more than five weeks.

The company is fighting for what it believes in, and so are the employees. Both sides are paying the price for their principles, with lost profits and wages.

To me, the shame of it all is the hardship the strike is causing on all of those people who don’t have anything to gain and so much to lose. I’m talking about all those people at Spirit AeroSystems who are working three-day weeks, the people getting laid off at smaller shops, the suppliers who are having to scale back because Boeing doesn’t need what they make right now.

There are only about 750 Boeing employees on strike in Wichita. But the impact reaches so many more people here, directly and indirectly. And when Boeing and the Machinists come to an agreement, the collateral damage will extend to the suppliers long after the strike is over.

Wichita Aero Club revival?

The new Wichita Aero Club now under formation may be a revival of an organization by the same name, said Dave Franson of Franson Consulting and an organizer of the club. According to documents filed with the State, a group of that name was chartered in 1915.   The former group sponsored a ballooning event nearly a century ago, but Franson said no other references to the club could be found.

Today’s Wichita Aero Club is a way for people interested or involved in the aviation industry to network and discuss major industry issues and promote education. The group will host monthly luncheons, sponsor fund-raising events and  recognize prominent aviators with an annual trophy at an awards gala.

A $3 billion difference in tanker bids

Aerial refueling bids from Northrop Grumman and Boeing were both “technically outstanding” but Boeing’s bid came in almost $3 billion more, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer told the Washington Post.

John Young, the undersecretary for acquisition, said the tanker proposal from Northrop Grumman and partner European Aeronautic Defence & Space, the first 68 tankers would have cost $12.5 billion, compared to $15.4 billion under Boeing’s bid.

Northrop also promised earlier delivery and that its aircraft “provided more tanker capability and offload rate,” Young told the Washington Post.

Bombardier Learjet closes one building as flooding precaution

With flooding in west Wichita, Bombardier Learjet closed one of its production buildings this morning as a precaution. But the company is open for business, a Bombardier official said. It’s allowing employees to leave if they need to check on their homes, cars or personal property because of the high waters.

Maybe, they’ll begin production of an Ark out there today.

Floods and hurricanes

As Houston braces for  Hurricane Ike’s arrival, Continental Airlines has canceled flights from Wichita to Houston after 8 a.m. Friday until Sunday morning. At the same time, Wichita is expecting rain and potential flooding from Ike.

If you’re a Continental ticket holder needing to rebook a flight, be sure to call the airline’s reservations line  at (800) 523-3273. You also can go to the counter at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Hurricanes and floods? What’s next, locusts?

Boeing strikers give false names

An interesting thing happened on the picket line at Boeing Wichita this week.

One of the strikers I interviewed about the work stoppage talked for a while on his views and gave me his name. Nothing unusual there. But it turns out, he didn’t give me his name at all. He gave me the name of a Boeing supervisor. Imagine the supervisor’s surprise to see his name in the paper with comments that didn’t come from him. The Eagle ran a correction today.

It seems, though, that I’m not alone. The same thing happened to one of the TV stations over the weekend, a Boeing spokesman told me. Like me, the striker gave the TV reporter the name of his supervisor instead of his own. Come on. A little honesty, folks. It’s important for the public to hear from the union why they’re out there walking the picket lines. Strikers complain that the public sees them only as greedy Boeing workers. They can’t counter that if they don’t say why they’re walking the line. As in most things, the actions of a few give everyone a black eye.

Cessna Cardinal’s come home

It’s been 40 years since Cessna Aircraft began producing the Cessna 177 Cardinal. Cardinal owners and operators from around the country will be in Wichita later this month to tour Cessna’s plants in Wichita and Independence and take part in a 40th birthday party.

Cessna built nearly 4,300 of the light, high-wing aircraft before stopping production in 1978.

The event, sponsored by the Cardinal Flyers organization, will be held at the Wichita Hilton at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport Sept. 24 to Sept. 28