Cessna, Beechcraft Employees Merge Their Flying Clubs

Aug. 07--Cessna Employees' Flying Club has merged with Beechcraft Employees' Flying Club to become one group.

With the merger, Cessna's flying club moved from its long-term home at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to Beech Factory Field near Webb and Central.

Each of the groups has a long history and the two are among the world's oldest flying clubs.

In March, Cessna Aircraft's parent company, Textron, bought Beechcraft Corp. and formed Textron Aviation.

Merging the clubs took place in June, the company said.

The move seemed a natural one, said Don Woodward, manager of Textron Aviation Employees Flying Club.

"We're one company now," Woodward said. "We don't need two flying clubs. That's why we have joined together."

There are advantages of uniting into one, Woodward said.

"We're always trying to become more efficient," he said.

The combined club has abut 480 members.

It allows employees, retirees and family members to learn to fly or rent airplanes at reduced costs.

Beechcraft's club had a fleet of about nine airplanes, including Bonanzas and Sundowners; Cessna's flying club had about 13 airplanes, including 172s, 182s and 206s.

The combined clubs give members access to a broader variety of airplanes.

In the meantime, the Wichita Airport Authority is seeking to lease the space vacated by the former Cessna flying club.

It hopes to have a deal within the next 60 days, said Victor White, Wichita Airport Authority director of airports.

The airport has had verbal interest from a handful of parties, White said.

All the interest has been from existing tenants.

The property includes a 26,000-square-foot building, about four acres of land, a ramp and a parking lot.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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