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 started at Wichita and stopped in 21 Kansas communities in seven days, cementing Kansas’ bid to become the "Air Capital of the World."
This year, the All Kansas Air Tour will highlight a state that is still very much "air-minded." The State of Kansas Aviation Advisory Committee is committed to celebrating the 80th Anniversary of this event. Over 30 communities have expressed interest in hosting stops. The timetable for the event will be the first week of April, 2008.
For sponsor and aircraft participation please contact C. Edward Young, Director of Aviation at KDOTAviation@ksdot.org.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation Obtains Certification for Pro Line 21 Equipped King Air C90Gti:
This marks the latest evolution of the popular twin-turbine Beechcraft King Air 90 series aircraft. The upgraded Beechcraft King Air C90Gti features an advanced, fully-integrated, Collins Pro Line 21™ avionics suite, the same system found in the King Air B200GT, King Air 350, Premier 1A, Hawker 750 and Hawker 900XP. The King Air C90Gti will replace the current King Air C90GT.
Hawker Beechcraft delivered 10 King Air C90Gti aircraft in December 2007 and certification has been achieved for Brazil. Pursuits of other international certifications are to follow in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela and Guatemala.
Featuring a cabin 50 percent larger than most VLJs, the King Air C90Gti seats up to seven passengers in its famed squared-oval design, allowing greater passenger comfort. It also includes an in-flight-accessible, heated and pressurized baggage storage area plus a private aft lavatory that is standard on every King Air C90Gti.
For more information, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.
Boeing Names Former NASA Engineer to Head Space Shuttle Program:
The Boeing Company has named veteran NASA space shuttle engineer John P. Mulholland its new Space Shuttle vice president and program manager. With more than 21 years of experience in space shuttle propulsion, systems and subsystem design, including 15 years with NASA, Mulholland is responsible for the overall direction and successful execution of Boeing’s Space Shuttle program.
"John has the perfect blend of engineering expertise and leadership attributes for the Space Shuttle program," said Brewster Shaw, Boeing Space Exploration vice president and general manager. "His deep understanding of the customer will be vital in completing the remaining shuttle missions and International Space Station (ISS) construction."
It is a busy year for the space shuttle and its new leader with six scheduled launches in 2008. "The recent launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis is a complex assembly mission, and the Boeing shuttle team is poised for success," said Mulholland.
During the 11-day mission, the STS-122 crew will deliver the European Space Agency’s Columbus Research Laboratory, and Atlantis will use new microchip technology flow sensors for the first time.
Supporting United Space Alliance, NASA’s prime contractor for space shuttle operations, Boeing provides design engineering and support for the shuttle. The space shuttle is scheduled to retire in 2010 after the ISS is assembled to make way for a new human-rated spacecraft that will return humans to the moon by 2020.
Cessna Names Shih to Oversee China Operations:
As Director – Cessna China Operations, Shih will oversee the production of the Cessna Model 162 SkyCatcher and support business development opportunities in China. He will be based at Textron’s Shanghai, China, office and will report to David Brant, Cessna’s senior vice president of Product Engineering.
Shih joined Cessna in 1989 and has held various engineering leadership positions, most recently director – Aircraft Structural Integrity for all Cessna models. Shih has experience with detail structural analysis and certification, support for global sourcing and program management. He has been integral in Cessna’s activities in China to date, including customer support, certification support and supplier assessment.
Shih has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University. He is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Spirit Aerosystems Assessing Impact of 787 Schedule Shift:
Spirit Aerosystems announced that it would continue to work with Boeing to assess the 787 program schedule.
Spirit President and CEO Jeff Turner said, "Although the additional delays in first flight and first delivery are disappointing for all of us, I continue to be pleased with Spirit’s overall performance on the program. Specifically, our structures design/build efforts are progressing well as we continue to work with our supply chain to meet program ramp-up requirements. Our major focus areas continue to be accommodating engineering changes and timely receipt of systems and wiring for installation."
"I have tremendous confidence in the 787 and Spirit’s ability to deliver to our customer’s requirements," Turner said. "This is a terrific airplane, with a strong backlog and we are committed to its success."
Spirit released 4th quarter and full year 2007 financial results, February 7, 2008. To access that report, go to www.spiritaero.com.
Airbus Completes First Test Flight with Alternative Fuel on Civil Aircraft:
Wichita, the Air Capital of the World has a definite interest in Airbus as they maintain a North American Wing Design division in this rich aviation community.
Recently an Airbus A380 successfully completed the world’s first ever flight by a commercial aircraft using a liquid fuel processed from gas (Gas to Liquids-GTL) in the first stage of a test flight programme to evaluate the environmental impact of alternative fuels in the airline market. The flight from Filton, UK to Toulouse, France, lasted three hours.
The A380 was chosen because the aircraft is already the environmental benchmark in air travel. It has four engines including segregated fuel tanks making it ideal for engine shut down and re-light tests under standard evaluation conditions. During the flight, engine number one was fed with a blend of GTL and jet fuel whilst the remaining three were fed with standard jet fuel.
Testing GTL today will support future second-generation bio-fuels, but which are not presently available in sufficient commercial quantities. Airbus will study viable second-generation bio-fuels when they become available.
"This has been a great achievement. Fuel and environment are key challenges aviation is facing and for which technology and international research collaboration open up new horizons. Our alternative fuels roadmap requires innovation, diversity of ideas and options that need to be explored," said Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders. "This takes bold cross industry and cross border collaboration and that’s what we are showing today with our groundbreaking first test flight with alternative fuels. It is part and parcel of Airbus’ commitment to providing leadership as an Eco-efficient enterprise."
I’ll have more news and items of interest as they develop to be published in my next "Air Capital Aviation Report." Please keep logging on to www.wingsoverkansas.com for weekly aviation and aerospace updated stories, features, history, education and more.