Bombardier apparently held a private “production rollout” of the all-composite Learjet 85 on September 7 at its Wichita facility, according to a YouTube video posted about a week after the event but removed yesterday shortly after AIN’s inquiry. A Bombardier Business Aircraft spokesman said he could not authenticate the video, even though it appears to have been professionally produced and includes titles with logos and typefaces, as well as music, consistent with other Bombardier-produced videos.
Beechcraft is nearing the sale of its Hawker 4000 and Premier I/IA assets, a step agreed to earlier this year as part of the Wichita OEM’s emergence from bankruptcy. The sale includes items such as type certificates, parts and tooling, as well as the composite manufacturing facility in Wichita known as Plant III. A Beechcraft spokeswoman said potential buyers are currently performing due diligence, and CEO Bill Boisture told AIN that he is “confident” the deal will happen by year-end.
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.
Textron, parent company of Cessna Aircraft, held its first-quarter 2013 earnings call yesterday, and the news was not particularly uplifting for its Wichita-based business segment. Customers in the light jet market, who tend to be small business owners, continue to defer purchase decisions, “reflecting continued concerns about their financial outlook,” said Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. As a result, he continued, Cessna delivered 32 new jets in the first quarter, six fewer than the same quarter last year, “resulting in a segment loss in the quarter of $8 million.”
Production of Cessna Aircraft’s new Citation Latitude is on schedule, and the company expects that full airframes will be on the manufacturing lines by year-end. The midsize business jet is scheduled to fly in the first quarter of next year. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer has already started building test articles, and has moved from engineering, analysis and modeling to cutting metal. Meanwhile, Cessna started a 19-city tour in the U.S. last week that showcases a Citation Latitude cabin mockup.
The Beechcraft King Air turboprop fleet has surpassed 60 million flight hours, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer announced today at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla. More than 7,000 King Airs are currently flying in 127 countries around the world, including all branches of the U.S. military. “We greatly value the global experience of our customers and use it to drive major and minor product improvements in the King Air line,” said company executive vice president of sales and marketing Shawn Vick.
Edward Burns, 93, the president of Beech Aircraft from 1981 to 1982 and a 40-year employee at the company, died Friday. Burns, also the nephew of company co-founders Walter and Olive Ann Beech, was the fourth president at the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer, succeeding Frank Hedrick. Burns retired in 1982, reportedly after clashing with executives at Raytheon, which acquired Beechcraft that year.
Hawker Beechcraft appointed Ted Farid as sales vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, which spans all of North and South Asia, including India. He joined HBC in 1996 and has most recently served as senior vice president for international sales and new business development. For now, Farid will continue to be based at Beechcraft’s headquarters in Wichita, but he plans to relocate to the Asia-Pacific region, mostly likely either Singapore or Hong Kong.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) has appointed Ted Farid as sales vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, which spans all of North and South Asia, including India.
Hawker Beechcraft, in what it hopes is the final phase of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, saw its employment level in Kansas drop to 3,372 as of December 31, triggering an automatic reduction in the annual incentive payment from the State of Kansas. In 2010 the company was granted $45 million in incentives by the state, based on an agreement to maintain employment in Kansas at 4,000.