During the past 100 years, Kansas has evolved into the Mecca for general aviation aircraft development


Unique among the industry, nowhere else will you find the concentration of top-name general aviation aircraft manufacturers co-located within such a tight geographic boundary. What Detroit had become to the automobile in it’s glory days, and Silicon Valley has become to the computer-chip, so too has Kansas become to the airplane!

This incredible business journey has seen the Kansas aviation industry get it’s fledgling start during the late 1800’s when imaginative but unworkable concepts were envisioned by dreamers and converted into reality as test aircraft by blacksmiths. It has seen Kansas become the proving grounds for such industry giants as Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna, Matty Laird, Bill Lear & Lloyd Stearman, just to name a few. Through the “Golden Age” of Barnstorming and Air-Racing, the Kansas aviation connection has always been at the forefront with such names as Amelia Earhart, Art Goebel, Frank Hawks, Benny Howard, and Blanche Noyes. Kansas has also played a significant role as a key component in the “arsenal of democracy,” with such stalwart manufacturers as Boeing (Wichita) and North American Aviation (Kansas City, KS) building medium and heavy bombers in the heartland. This amazing legacy is sustained even to this day as new names emerge to carry on the tradition of aircraft that set the world standard for excellence in recreational and business aviation. Names such as Bombardier Aerospace and Raytheon Aircraft have become some of the latest additions to this continuing history.

Borne on the Southwind cover

For a comprehensive history on the complete development of Kansas Aviation, Obtain a copy of “Borne On The South Wind, A Century Of Kansas Aviation,” By Rowe & Miner.

-Frank Joseph Rowe

Source Material Compiled From The Book: “Borne On The South Wind, A Century Of Kansas Aviation”, By Frank Joseph Rowe & Craig Miner. Copyright 1994 by The Wichita Eagle and Beacon Publishing Co., Wichita, Ks., 67201.

For information on ordering, call the Wichita Eagle at 316-268-6000.