Air Capital Aviation Report. July 9, 2006

Carl Chance

By Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’s aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.

This is the continuing installment bringing you aviation and aerospace news and items of interest from Wichita, the Air Capital of the World.

Spirit AeroSystems To Go Public:

Spirit AeroSystems, the Wichita company, formerly Boeing-Wichita Airplane Co., announced that it is going public with a stock offering.

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying it intends to make an initial public offering of its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol “SPR.”

Spirit AeroSystems was formed June 2005 when Canada-based Onex Corporation purchased Boeing-Wichita’s commercial aircraft division for $1.5 billion.

Spirit AeroSystems is the world’s largest independent supplier of structures for commercial aircraft. It designs and builds part of every Boeing commercial aircraft now in production. Its products include the 737 fuselage, engine nacelles and pylons. It also produces nose sections, nacelles and pylons for the 747, 767, and 777 aircraft. Spirit also designs and produces slats, flaps, forward leading edges and trailing edges for 737 wings, slats and floor beams for the 777 airplane, and wing and fuselage components for the 747. Spirit’s Wichita operation, also designs and builds aircraft production tooling, and has design and manufacturing responsibilities for the forward sections and pylons for Boeing’s 787 airplane.

Spirit AeroSystems also has two operating locations in Oklahoma – Tulsa and McAlester.

For more information on the company, log on to

Boeing-led Team Tracks and Targets Simulated Missile in Airborne Laser Ground Test:

The Boeing Company working with industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, successfully conducted an Airborne Laser (ABL) ground test June 6, 2006 demonstrating the weapon’s ability to track and target a ballistic missile.

During the test at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in Wichita, Kan., the ABL, which operates aboard a modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft, located a simulated boosting ballistic missile target created by a target simulator. After using simulated returns from a surrogate target illuminator laser to track the target, the Airborne Laser used simulated returns from a surrogate beacon illuminator laser to compensate for atmospheric turbulence that ABL’s high-energy laser would encounter in its path to the target.

The equipment used in the test is part of the beam control/fire control system, designed and integrated by Lockheed Martin, and the battle management system, developed by Boeing.

“The Airborne Laser team is working tirelessly to reach its first 2006 Knowledge Point, in which the two actual illuminators will be installed, integrated and ground-tested in the ABL aircraft,” said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “The June 6th achievement is a major step toward that goal and demonstrates the Boeing team’s commitment to chart the course and develop critical missile defense capability for our nation.”

The ABL program plans to install and test the illuminators later this year. The high-energy laser, which achieved lethal power and run-times in a ground laboratory in December 2005, is currently being refurbished and will be installed in the ABL aircraft in 2007 to prepare for the program’s first missile shoot-down test in 2008.

Boeing is the prime contractor for ABL, which will provide a speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Boeing provides the modified aircraft and the battle management system and is the overall systems integrator. ABL partners are Northrop Grumman, which supplies the high-energy laser and the beacon illuminator laser, and Lockheed Martin, which provides the nose-mounted turret in addition to the beam control/fire control system.

10th Annual Amelia Earhart Festival:

This special celebration is scheduled for July 14th and 15th in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia’s birthplace home.

The event features two days of fun-filled and educational activities for all ages. In addition to touring her home, there will be many exhibits, speakers, Pioneering Achievement Award and a showing of a new film on Amelia Earhart, produced by Andrea Niapas, with questions and answers.

Children’s activities and games will abound along with a big Amelia’s Birthday Party celebration. Capping off the celebration will be Aerobatic Performances by Gary Rower, Ken Stout and the Dave Dacy-Tony Kazaian Super Stearman Wingwalking Team. and the “Concert in the Sky” Fireworks.

Log on to for more detailed information on the 10th Annual Amelia Earhart Festival.

Kansas Aviation Museum Aircraft Restoration:

Among the many important projects undertaken by museum volunteers is the restoration of vintage aircraft. Currently on display is a 1934 Stearman Model 73/Navy NS-1 Trainer. This airplane saved the Stearman Aircraft Company from the depths of the depression. This specific aircraft is number 12 of the 61 contracted in 1934-35. This was the very first military production contract for Stearman and Wichita.

Under restoration is a 1921 Laird Swallow. From 1920-1923, only 43 Laird Swallows were built. None are now known to exist. When museum volunteers complete their restoration of this airplane, it will be the only known Laird Swallow of this model in existence.. Recently completed is a 1927 Swallow, originally crashed in 1929. Also under restoration is a 1929 American Eagle, built at Fairfax Field in Kansas City.

A 1931 Stearman model 4D Junior Speedmail, which is the original “TEXACO 14” owned and operated by the Texas Company 1931-1936. This restoration is being funded by “The Women of Wichita.”

Openings still available for Aviation/Astronaut Training:

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center still has openings for its 22nd year of summer camps. Specialized for students at all grade levels and for adults of all ages, the Cosmosphere’s award-winning programs are continuing.
For more information log on to

Kansas Aerospace Employment:

At this reporting, Cessna Aircraft company has posted three available positions in the Wichita Eagle’s Career Builder Advertising Section. They are, Engineer/Engineer Sr., Manager,Payroll and Labor Accounting, and HR Business Partner.
For additional job contacts with other Wichita aircraft manufacturers, Wichita Airbus/North American Wing Design, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Bombardier Aerospace/Learjet, Raytheon/Beech Aircraft, and Spirit AeroSystems, click on the Aviation Careers menu button.

I’ll have more news and items of interest in my next report. Keep logging on to for weekly aviation and aerospace update stories, features, history and more.

For questions and comments, contact me at [email protected].