Air Capital Aviation Report

Carl Chance

By, Carl Chance, aviation & aerospace corespondent, former news consultant/corespondent/producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.

This is the first installment bringing you aviation and aerospace news from Wichita, the Air Capital of the World. We’ll feature the latest news from the aircraft manufacturers and related aviation and aerospace organizations.

Aviation Discovery Days on the Way!

The Kansas Aviation Museum is hosting Aviation Discovery Days June 17-18 at the museum. The event is taking the place of the long-standing Aerodrome Days held each spring at the museum.

There will be aviation speakers, tours of the museum and the aircraft. Additional activities are scheduled for children and adults.

Tickets will be $3 per person; children 6 and under will be free. Food and drink available throughout the weekend. Hours will be 10AM to 5PM, both days.

Aviation/Astronaut Training Program for 2006.

Registration is still underway for the remaining 2006 Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center Adult Astronaut Adventure (AAA) and Adult Aviation Camp Experience (ACE) sessions, open to anyone eighteen and older, and the Elderhostel Astronaut Training Program for individuals fifty-five and older.

The Cosmosphere’s premier year of Adult ACE will introduce participants to the fundamentals of flight, the creation of flight plans, and practice time in the Cosmosphere’s F-101 and F-16 flight simulators. As the main highlight, participants pilot a Cessna 172, including take-off and landing at the Hutchinson, Kansas airport, after receiving hours of flying time as the passenger. Cosmosphere aviation educators, in partnership with Wells Aircraft teach the camp, and certified flight instructors fly with each participant.

Space is limited in each session. To enroll for a session or for more information, call the education coordinator at 620-662-2305, ext. 323.

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.

Although specific military contracts are currently being considered, the work being done at this facility has been on the following programs.

Replacing 1970-era avionics with modern equipment on the B-52 Bomber. Ongoing maintenance and upgrades on Air Force One. Ongoing maintenance and upgrades for the “advanced airborne command post” on the E-4B. Airborne Laser Program modifications on a 747 that will be used as the platform for laser equipment. For the KC-135 Tanker Program, replacing engines on the KC-135 fleet. On the 767 International Tanker Program, converting 767sinto tankers for Japan and Italy.

Bombardier/Learjet 60 XR Flight Deck Shines on Flight.

The new Bombardier/Learjet 60 XR recently executed a successful but rigorous two-hour, 20-minute first flight. The aircraft combines one of the most advanced flight decks in corporate aviation with the superior performance and speed of the legendary Learjet family.

Certification of the flight deck by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2006, with certification by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency expected to follow shortly thereafter. The first Learjet 60 XR aircraft is currently on schedule to enter service in the first quarter of 2007.

Cessna Sells Largest Fleet of Aircraft to Chinese Flight School.

Cessna Aircraft Company has begun delivery of 42 172 Skyhawks to the Civil Aviation Flying University of China (CAFUC). The airplanes are traveling overseas by boat in 40-foot containers that can carry three 172s at a time. Deliveries will continue through the month.

Twenty-two of the 172s will have the Garmin GA (glass) package and 20 will have the NAV I with ADF (non-glass). In addition to the 42 Skyhawks, the CAFUC also took delivery of six Cessna Citation CJ1s in August. Once primary training is complete in the 172, students begin learning to fly the CJ1s.

The government-owned CAFUC is the country’s largest flight training center, accounting for about 90 percent of the pilots produced in China.

Raytheon Aircraft Helping Students Make the Grade in Math.

Local Raytheon Aircraft Company employees are rallying around math education as part of its parent Raytheon Company’s new national program, MathMovesU. This is a first-of-its-kind program by the company set up to excite middle school students about math, highlighting the real-life possibilities skills in math can deliver. Raytheon Company is providing an annual $1 million in MathMovesU grants that will fund classroom help for teachers; provide grants to teachers, college students, and schools doing great things with math education; and offer scholarships to students who write in on the Web to tell how they would make math cooler.

Raytheon Company has over 80,000 employees worldwide, employing almost 40,000 engineers and a multitude of others who use math daily. Raytheon Aircraft Company employs 576 engineers and others who rely on strong math skills, including 536 in Wichita and 40 in Little Rock. But the number of American students pursuing math degrees and careers is declining.

“We’ve got a crises on our hands in this country,” said Raytheon Aircraft Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Schuster: “The United States ranks 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy, and jobs requiring math are increasing four times faster than overall job growth. Raytheon Company has opted to do something to help improve the situation. A significant amount of the work at Raytheon Aircraft Company and much of the local Wichita economy are based on jobs requiring math. We need to reach the future engineers and scientists in our community. With this program, we want to engage middle school students and keep them interested in math.”