By Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’ aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.
Spirit AeroSystems Chooses Wichita To Expand Operations.
Spirit AeroSystems selected its Wichita facility as the site where the company will design and manufacture the fuselage for the new Cessna Citation Columbus. Spirit plans to build a new 375,000 square-foot factory to accommodate the manufacturing and testing of the Columbus fuselage. The facility will also provide additional capacity for existing and other new programs. The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition (GWEDC) worked closely with Sprit to secure the investment in the new facility.
Spirit AeroSystems has expanded production on current airplane programs and won multiple new contracts across the aerospace industry since its formation in June 2005. These new programs include the Gulfstream G650 wing, nacelle and thrust reverser, the Cessna Citation Columbus fuselage and empennage, the Sikorsky CH-53K Helicopter cockpit and cabin, and the Airbus A350 Section 15 and wing fixed leading edge and spar.
Over the next five years, Spirit expects to invest approximately $260 million and create an estimated 700 jobs with a projected annual payroll of more than $42 million in the state of Kansas, as the company executes its business plan for these multiple new programs.
"We said all along that our desire was to design and build the Cessna Columbus in Wichita," said Jeff Turner, Spirit President and CEO. "Working together with state and local partners, we were able to close the business case for the Columbus and other new programs, enabling us to make this investment in the Wichita site. Through this partnership, we were able to combine Spirit investment, including customer program support, with state and local incentives to maintain and grow jobs in Kansas."
The state of Kansas and the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition played key roles in securing the additional work and resulting jobs for Wichita and Kansas. The Kansas Department of Commerce committed $14.5 million in funding to help secure the Spirit investment through its investments in Major Projects and Comprehensive Training program and Kansas Economic Opportunity Initiatives Fund.
"We all know how important the aviation industry is to the Kansas economy, as well as to our state’s history and heritage," said Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. "It’s crucial that we do everything possible to support kansas companies like Spirit AeroSystems in getting the resources they need to continue their success."
The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County will commit $3.2 million total or $1.6 million each and 10-year property tax abatement. The incentives are subject to approval by the City Council and the Board of County Commissioners.
"We are pleased to support these new programs for a global company headquartered in Wichita and expanding throughout the world," Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer said. "As Spirit AeroSystems grows and continues to diversify its customer base, Wichita and Kansas must work together to secure new investments and programs."
Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Tom Winters said, "We know we compete against other states and communities for new programs. Our securing these new programs helps grow our community’s economic future for the next generation, while continuing to provide a great return on investment for public dollars."
The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition is the regional public/private partnership managed by the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and charged with creating and executing the region’s business recruitment, retention and expansion plans.
Work will begin immediately on the new Spirit facility, which will be located on the north end of its existing Wichita campus.
For additional information, contact: Debbie Gann, Corporate Communications, 316-526-3910.
First Production Cessna Citation CJ4 Completes First Flight.
Cessna Aircraft Company, completed the first flight of the first production Citation CJ4 in August, just more than three months after the CJ4 prototype initially flew May 5th.
The 41-minute flight departed McConnell Air Force Base in east Wichita and completed numerous systems evaluations. Flown by Cessna Engineering test pilots David Lewandowski and Dan Morris, the CJ4 returned to Cessna’s facility on Mid-Continent Airport as scheduled and where it will continue development and certification testing.
The first production aircraft, Serial 0001, will primarily be used for avionics and systems certification. The second production aircraft, Serial 0002, is nearing completion at Cessna’s Pawnee Advanced Engineering facility in Wichita, and will fly function and reliability along with company service tests.
Since the CJ4 prototype completed first flight in May, it has logged 59 flights and accumulated more than 90 hours. The aircraft has completed system verification flight tests, such as speed brakes and flaps systems, and has been cleared through its operation envelope. Certification tests for the prototype and production airframes are on schedule to begin later this year.
Configurable for seven to eight passengers in the main cabin, the Citation CJ4 is expected to have a maximum speed of 435 knots (806 kilometers per hour), a full fuel payload of 1,000 pounds (453 kilograms) and maximum payload of 2,100 pounds (952 kilograms), more than 300 pounds (136 additional kilograms) compared to the typical CJ3. It will be certified for operations up to 45,000 feet (13,700 meters).
The aircraft will debut the new Williams International FJ44-4A electronically controlled (FADEC) engines and will feature the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and Venue, the next generation cabin management system. All current production Citations employ new generation turbofan engines, which meet or exceed the most stringent noise requirements and allow Cessna’s line of business jets to be among the most fuel efficient and achieve some of the lowest emissions in the industry.
Cessna plans to achieve Federal Aviation Administration type certification in the second half of 2009, followed by customer deliveries beginning the first half of 2010. Concurrently, Cessna is working toward European Aviation Safety Agency certification.
Boeing Delivers Super Hornet Proposal to Brazil For F-X2 Competition.
The Boeing Company delivered a detailed proposal in last month offering its advanced F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Brazilian Air Force as part of Brazil’s F-X2 fighter competition.
"International interest in the combat-proven Super Hornet continues to increase, and Boeing is honored Brazil is considering the Super Hornet to meet its near-term defense requirements," said Bob Growler, F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs vice president, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
Boeing received a Request for Information from the government of Brazil on June 12th. The stated initial requirement is for 36 aircraft, with the potential for up to 120 aircraft.
The Super Hornet variant Boeing is offering to Brazil is based on the Block II F/A-18E/F model flown by the U.S. Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force. Advanced technology, such as Raytheon’s APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar, and proven reliability are drawing increasing international interest in the aircraft as a cost-effective and lethal air defense solution.
"The Super Hornet we are proposing for Brazil delivers cutting-edge, multi-role strike fighter capability that is ready today," said Grower. "With the Block II enhancements, the Super Hornet’s combat capabilities continue to grow, offering a comprehensive multi-role solution at an affordable price."
Boeing has delivered more than 360 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy. Australia has ordered 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets to bolster its fleet of F/A-18 Hornets. Boeing is in discussion with several other international customers about their interest in procuring the F/A-18E/F.
Note: We’ll publish continuing news and features of interest in the next "Air Capital Aviation Report," as they develop. Please keep logging on to www.wingsoverkansas.com for weekly aviation and aerospace updates on stories, features, history, news, education and more!