Air Capital Aviation Report, July 2, 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.

Raytheon Aircraft Company Plays Part in Refurbishing World War II Warplane:

Raytheon Aircraft Company (RAC) will play an integral role in the refurbishment of a 1941Canadian-built Bolingbroke warplane. The airplane is being shipped in RAC’s Hawker 800-series trailers to Bristol, England for restoration. These trailers typically ferry the fuselage and wing sections for the Hawker 850XP from England to Wichita, Kan., where final assembly occurs.

Graham Kilsby of Nashville, Tenn., has generously donated this warplane to the Bristol Aero Collection. A Memorandum of Agreement between British Aerospace Company, Triumph Structures, Airbus, Charles Gee & Co. and Raytheon Aircraft Company set out the actions to be taken by each of the companies in the shipment of the aircraft from Chino, Calif., to Filton, England in the United Kingdom.

The aircraft arrived at RAC’s facility in Wichita in crates June 21st where it was transferred to the Hawker trailers for transport by BAX Global to Portsmouth, Va. At this point the Bolingbroke joined the procession of Hawker vans returning to the U.K. by sea freight on an Atlantic Container Lines ferry to Liverpool, England. Charles Gee organized U.K. import/export clearance of the shipment and its transport to Airbus at Broughton in North Wales. Airbus will then unload the aircraft from the Hawker van and transport the components to Filton, England.

“Raytheon Aircraft Company is pleased to play an integral role in the transfer of this historical aircraft for restoration,” said Jim Schuster, chairman and chief executive officer. “Few of these airplanes still exist and this is an excellent opportunity to create a display for future generations to enjoy.”

Raytheon Aircraft Company designs, manufactures, markets and supports Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft for the world’s commercial and military markets.

500th Cessna Citation XL/XLS Delivered:

Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., delivered on June 27th, the 500th Citation XL/XLS model to European Flight Service AB, the largest jet charter operation in Sweden.

Since the first Cessna Citation XL was delivered in 1998, more Citation XL and XLS aircraft have been delivered than any other corporate business jet in the world.

“European Flight Service was the first commercial company in Europe to put an XL into service in 2003,” said Cessna Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Roger Whyte. “There have been many others that have followed suit. We took orders for 36 XLS aircraft in Europe for 2005 alone.”

European Flight Service’s fleet includes a Citation XL, Citation Vll and Citation Sovereign. They have an additional XLS and Sovereign aircraft on order.

“The XL we have is a workhorse for our short-range charter operations,” said European Flight Service’s Owner, Managing Director, Flight Operations Director, and Chief Pilot, Stephen W.S. Diapere. “It flies an average of 550 hours per year. Our customers like the standup cabin, and our company likes the economy, purchase price, operating cost, ease of maintenance and field service support. Our experience with the XL leads us to believe this new XLS will be a complement to our fleet.”

The XL/XLS worldwide fleet will near 1 million operating hours in October. The 560 series began with the Citation XL, which was granted Federal Aviation Administration type certification in April 1998. The XL received a block point change in 2004 and became the XLS. Together, the XL and XLS have been the best-selling mid-size jets in history. The XLS travels as fast as 500 miles per hour, has a range of more than 1,800 nautical miles, climbs direct to 45,000 feet in 29 minutes, and can land on runways as short as 3,560 feet.

Cessna is the world’s largest producer of single engine piston aircraft and business jets.

Boeing Awarded B-52H Weapons Integration Contract:

The Boeing Company has received a U.S. Air Force contract worth up to $150 million to support new weapons integration efforts on the B-52H bomber.

Work on the B-52 Smart Weapons Integration Next Generation (SWING) will be performed by engineers based at the company’s Integrated Defense Systems facility in Wichita, Kansas. The contact expires December 2020.

“This contract will allow us to continue to make the B-52 one of the most modern weapons systems in the world,” said Scot Oathout, B-52 program director for Boeing. “Subsequent contract modifications will support integration of other next generation weapons in years to come.”

Such weapons systems include the Extended Range versions of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser and Joint Direct Attack Munitions and possibly the integration of the Small Diameter Bomb and Boost Phase Interceptor.

The contract will also be used to integrate the Universal Armament Interface — the next generation interface between the mission planning system, aircraft platform, and weapons — onto the B-52.

Boeing-led Team Fires Surrogate Lasers from Airborne Laser Aircraft:

A Boeing-led industry team and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) took a major step toward demonstrating the capability of the Airborne Laser (ABL) by successfully firing surrogate lasers from inside the aircraft.

During recent ground tests at Boeing facilities in Wichita, Kan., the team placed the lasers in the ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F, and fired them repeatedly into a measuring device called a range simulator. The tests verified that the ABL team properly aligned the optical beam train, a series of optical components, steering and deformable mirrors, and sensors that will guide lasers to an actual target. The equipment exercised in the tests is part of the beam control/fire control system designed and integrated by Lockheed Martin.

The lasers used in the tests were low-power surrogates for ABL’s high-energy laser and two illuminator lasers. The program plans to install actual illuminators in the jet for ground and flight tests later this year. The track illuminator laser is designed to track all classes of hostile ballistic missiles. The beacon illuminator laser will measure atmospheric conditions, allowing the beam control/fire control system to compensate for atmospheric turbulence in the high-energy laser’s path to a target. During this year’s flight tests, the illuminators will be fired in flight at a missile-shaped image painted on a test aircraft.

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, slated for 2008.

“The surrogate-laser tests provide further proof that the ABL design is sound,” said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “They also bring ABL closer to important flight testing later this year and to the 2008 lethal shoot-down milestone. This is an exciting time for the program, and our team has worked hard to make it that way.”

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 include 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.

Aviation/Astronaut Training Program:

The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is continuing to offer specialized astronaut training and aviation camp programs for all ages — from the young to the young-at-heart.

With Investigate Space, Takeoff, Mars Academy, and Overnight Space Adventures to elementary students, and the Future Astronaut Training Program open to students entering 7th-10th grade, the Aviation Camp Experience for high school students entering 10-12th grades, students from all age groups have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the excitement of space exploration and aviation techniques.

But it isn’t just the kids who get to have all the fun. For those who grew up with the space program, the Cosmosphere offers the Adult Astronaut Adventure and the Elderhostel Astronaut Training Program, allowing kids of all ages the chance to fulfill their life-long dreams of spaceflight. Those who dream of piloting their own plane can do so in the Adult Aviation Camp Experience.

To receive more information and/or to enroll in a session, contact the education coordinator at 620-662-2305, ext. 323.

Kansas Aerospace Employment:

You can access all the major aircraft company manufactures here in Wichita by clicking the Aviation Careers menu button on this web site.

The Wichita Eagle has ad’s listed for Cessna Aircraft Company seeking the following: Production Test/Delivery Pilot, Interior Design/Exterior Graphic Artist, Interior Advanced Design/Research & Development Engineer and Engineer/Engineer Sr.

Additionally, Garmin has 7 job openings listed as follows: Aircraft Certification Engineer, Aircraft Systems Designer (Electrical), Aviation Systems Engineers/Program Coordinators, Aviation Software & Systems Engineers, Aviation Test Software Engineering Team Leader, Senior Flight Controls Systems Engineer and Flight Controls Systems Engineer. Garmin is located in Olathe, Kan., and can be accessed on the Internet at www.garmin.com.
One additional job listed is Avionics Flight Line Technician with Yingling Aviation. Contact them at 316-943-2484 or log on to their web site at www.yinglingaviation.com.

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

For questions and comments, contact me at info@wingsoverkansas.com.