Normally, when a sports arena reaches the end of its life, it’s torn down. In Wichita, self-proclaimed “Air Capital of the World,” however, it’s renovated and converted into a state-of-the-art full-size aircraft test facility. Last month the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University (WSU) finished the transformation of the former Britt Brown Arena/Kansas Coliseum into the brand-new Aircraft Structural Testing and Evaluation Center (Astec for short), one of four Wichita-area aviation test facilities currently operated by the school.
At Abace today, Cessna Aircraft senior vice president for business jets Brad Thress elaborated further on the aircraft manufacturer’s joint venture with Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) and the Chengdu provincial government to build midsize Citations in China. He said that the Sovereigns and Latitudes built in China will be assembled in Chengdu from components made at the company’s headquarters in Wichita. “We see this as incremental business.
Beijing-based EarthView Image signed an order for a special-mission Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90GTx today at Abace. The company will use the turboprop twin for aerial mapping. Yesterday at Abace, the Wichita aircraft manufacturer logged orders for three C90GTxs from Xinjiang Tianxiang Aviation College and the Civil Aviation University College of China. Both plan to use the King Airs for multi-engine training.
In the wake of news that Boeing plans to close its defense, space and security operations in Wichita by the end of 2013, the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) has helped launch an aviation task force to develop strategies that will promote the city’s aviation industries.