By Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’ aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.
All Kansas Air Tour:
In 1928, the Governor of the State of Kansas, Ben Paulen, launched into the skies above Kansas for a seven day "All Kansas Air Tour." The 25 airplane fleet departed Wichita "to spread the air gospel." At the time, the trip was characterized as the biggest thing ever attempted in Kansas and the Governor said he knew of nothing in the United States that was its equivalent. A reporter quipped, the fact "that Kansas rapidly is becoming air-minded was evidenced at every stop." The tour stopped in 21 Kansas communities in seven days. Today, Kansas is the Air Capital of the World!
The State of Kansas Aviation Advisory Committee is committed to celebrating the 80th Anniversary of this event, by conducting another "All Kansas Air Tour." Over 30 Kansas communities have expressed interest in hosting stops. We are looking for aircraft and sponsors for the event. We anticipate setting the date for the event soon.
If you are interested in participating in this event, please express your interest by e-mail to C. Edward Young, Director of Aviation at KDOTAviation@ksdot.org.
One of Original Seven Astronauts to Speak at Cosmosphere:
The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas will host a presentation and book signing with Original 7 Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter and Pad Leader Guenter Wendt at 6:30p.m., Tuesday, October 2nd.
The event is free and open to the public. Carpenter and Wendt will also give a presentation to local school groups at 9:30a.m. and 11a.m., Wednesday in the Discovery Classroom.
The school group presentation is open only to teachers and their students and reservations are required. To reserve a spot, call Laura Flynn at 800-397-0330, ext. 304.
Wendt will also travel to Wichita State University Tuesday to speak to students about the impact of engineering on the space program. WSU’s aeronautical engineering department is hosting the event.
As one of America’s first astronauts, Carpenter flew Aurora 7 during the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission, becoming the second American to orbit the Earth and the fourth American in space.
Wendt’s name became well-known when astronaut Donn Eisele sarcastically said, "I wonder where Guenter Wendt," after Wendt shut the hatch to Apollo 7 prior to launch. Wendt is the famous pad leader from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. Patrons can purchase their books in the Cosmosphere’s Cargo Bay Gift Store, though supplies are limited.
Carpenter and Wendt’s presentations are part of the Cosmosphere’s celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Space Exploration. With various events lasting through December, the Cosmosphere’s activity series marks the anniversary of the launch of the world’s first satellite, Russia’s Sputnik I, in 1957.
To learn more about Carpenter and Wendt’s presentations or the other activities planned for the anniversary celebration, visit www.cosmo.org or call 800-397-0330.
Advanced Pilot Training at the Smoky Hill Weapons Range:
The Salina Airport Authority reported that Advanced Air Force pilot training is taking place in the Salina, Kansas area because of the combined amenities of the Salina Municipal Airport and the Smoky Hill Weapons Range. The Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) class from Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma started scheduled training in the Salina area a couple of weeks ago.
IFF flight commander and F-16c pilot Capt. Nathan "Blitz" Thompson saw the Smoky Hill Weapons Range for training to be an advantage due to its proximity to Vance AFB and the fact that the Range has the personnel to help with training activities. The purpose of the program is to bridge the gap between pilot training and being a fighter pilot.
The pilots in the IFF program are flying Northrop AT-38 Talons. Following graduation from the IFF program, the pilots will be prepared for front-line fighter and bomber aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle, F-15C Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, B-1B Lancer, A-10 Warthog and F/A-22 Raptor.
Hawker Beechcraft Corp. Celebrates 75th Anniversary at NBAA 2007:
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the company, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) will feature its entire commercial product line at this year’s Nation Business Aviation Association Convention and Exhibition.
On exhibit at the Georgia World Congress Center will be Hawker 4000 and Beechcraft Premier IA cabin mockups, an interior design room where customers can choose interiors for their aircraft, as well as new interactive displays on the company’s products and services.
The airport static display will feature the full product line from Hawker including a Hawker 4000, Hawker 900XP, Hawker 400XP and a Hawker 750 external baggage mockup. On the Beechcraft side, the display will include a Beechcraft Premier IA, King Air 350, King Air B200, King Air C90GT, Baron G58 and Bonanza G36. Also joining the Beechcraft display, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Beechcraft Bonanza, will be a 1947 Model 35 Bonanza serial number D-18.
I’ll have more news and items of interest as they develop and will be published in my next "Air Capital Aviation Report." Please keep logging on to, www.wingsoverkansas.com for weekly aviation and aerospace update stories, features, history, education and more.