Industry News

Oct. 14, 2010

Wichita: Air Capital of the World

National Center for Aviation Training opens

For nearly a century now, the practice of preparing Wichita’s constituents for work in the aviation industry is tied firmly to its historic, enterprising roots. In 1917, Wichita was established as the “Air Capital of the World” when the Cessna Comet was introduced, and continues to remain the leading supplier of aviation aircraft with more than 50 percent of the market.

In terms of population percentage, more people work in the aviation and aerospace industries in Wichita than in any city in the world. Bombardier Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft Company, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit Aerosystems, and The Boeing Company create a huge presence in the Wichita area. Through the vision of these five companies and Sedgwick County leaders, the National Center for Aviation Training Center (NCAT) has become a reality in order for Kansas’ aviation industry to remain globally competitive and to provide training programs to meet work force demands.

World-class training

NCAT is a world-class training facility that provides the opportunity for prospective students to receive hands-on, real-world training in the areas of general aviation manufacturing and aircraft and power plant mechanics. Wichita’s two-year post-secondary college, Wichita Area Technical College (WATC), serves as the managing partner for the center and provides technical certificates and degree programs for aviation/manufacturing training whose program curriculum is approved by business and industry and the Kansas Board of Regents.

The center, on WATC’s main campus, consists of three buildings: Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (80,948 square feet), the Aviation Service Center (96,243 square feet) complete with an auditorium that will hold 200 people, and an Assessment and Administration Center (30,435 square feet) for admissions, student services, and employment placement.

Training programs include: Part 147 Airframe and Powerplant, avionics, robotics, composite fabrication/repair, nondestructive testing, welding/machining/CAD/CATIA, aerostructures, interiors installation, advanced coatings and painting, torque certification, electromechanical systems,and fiberoptics.

Aviation research

Not only is Wichita a national aviation manufacturing hub, it is also recognized for aviation research; 70 percent of all FAA composites research is conducted at Wichita State University’s National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR). NIAR supports research in the areas of composites and advanced materials, full-scale structural testing, aging aircraft, crash dynamics, CAD/CAM, advanced joining, and aerodynamics. NIAR has partnered with the industry since 1985 to provide research, design, testing, and certification to the aviation manufacturing industry, government agencies, and educational entities.

NIAR, in partnership with WATC, also has research labs and faculty at NCAT. Training programs at NCAT provide students an opportunity for work force training. Students are provided a rich learning environment where the latest research is put into practical application.

As the No. 1 net export in the United States, Kansas’ aviation manufacturing is a significant contributor and thus the driver for the Wichita area to become a global economic nucleus for aviation training.

NCAT has the capacity to provide technical training for at least 1,500 students with both day and night classes. The center became operational in August 2010. NCAT facilities and WATC training programs will allow realistic hands-on training on the latest equipment in aviation and advanced manufacturing, including a composites materials lab. AMT

Sabreliner to add paint facility

Sabreliner plans to expand its operations and create up to 400 jobs over the next four years. The announcement coincided with the recent groundbreaking of the company’s newest aircraft stripping and painting facility in Perryville, MO, that will enable Sabreliner to provide services to more and larger aircraft. At 27,000 square feet, the new strip/paint facility will accommodate operations for aircraft as large as Gulfstream jets, while continuing to provide inspection and rehabilitation services for other military and commercial jets, propeller-driven planes and helicopters. Construction on the hangar is underway and is expected to be complete in nine to 11 months.

StandardAero facility improvement

StandardAero’s Business Aviation services facility in Springfield, IL, will receive a facility site-improvement investment worth $500,000. Work is expected to be completed over the next six months; it involves repainting the facility’s hangar floors and walls, in addition to the installation of large-facility ventilation fans and new energy-efficient lighting.

Business jet donated

West Star Aviation has donated a Learjet Model 35A to Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangely, CO. The aircraft will be used by the college to allow its Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) students to develop the skills they learn in school on a real aircraft.

According to Larry McNutt, director of maintenance for West Star Aviation, “As expensive as aircraft can be, it is hard for an A&P school to acquire real aircraft with which to train their students. This airframe will allow the students to learn and train in a real world environment.”

Enterprise opens maintenance facility

Enterprise Jet Center has moved its entire maintenance department into the company’s former hangar adjacent to the current terminal at Hobby Airport in Houston. The 30,000-square-foot hangar gives Enterprise more dedicated space for maintenance and repair services, while allowing more space for tenant aircraft in the terminal hangar. Enterprise has been a certified FAA repair station (J89R218Y) since 2007.

Precision expands

Precision Aviation Group (PAG) began work on an 65,000-square-foot expansion to its headquarters in Atlanta, GA. The continued growth of PAG’s four companies: Precision Heliparts (PHP), Precision Avionics & Instuments (PAI), Precision Heliparts-Canada (PHP-C), and Precision Accessories & Instruments-Canada (PAI-C), necessitated the facility expansion. It’s the third expansion in 12 years.

FlightSafety adds King Air training in Australia

FlightSafety International plans to offer Beechcraft King Air 350 training in Australia. The Full Flight Simulator is scheduled to be installed at the Ansett Aviation Training facility in Melbourne, Australia, by the end of 2011. The simulator will feature the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Integrated Avionics System and will be available to King Air 200 aircraft operators for differences training.

US Airways picks TIMCO

US Airways has selected TIMCO’s Macon, GA, operations for airframe base maintenance on its B767 fleet of aircraft beginning late in 2010. The work will be performed at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. TIMCO recently expanded its facilities capabilities to cover the B767 aircraft type through an investment in tooling and equipment, structural enhancements, and new staffing and training

StandardAero to work on Russian fleet

StandardAero has signed a maintenance agreement with Moscow-based, Region Avia Airlines to work on its Embraer 120 fleet of PW118 engines and GTCP36-150AA auxiliary power units (APUs). The agreement grants StandardAero time and maintenance support work, as well as additional support activities, including field service support and Engine Condition Trend Monitoring (ECTM), for Region Avia’s fleet of Embraer 120 aircraft.

Chromalloy offers web-based catalog

Chromalloy has launched a comprehensive web-based catalog that will help gas turbine engine operators and maintenance professionals reduce the time spent searching for parts and repairs. The database-driven catalog lists information by manufacturer, engine type, and engine section, quickly returning results on parts, repairs, and overhaul capabilities. Searches also indicate whether the company produces parts manufacturer approval (PMA) components for a particular part number, and other information including repair turn times and locations in the company’s network that performs the repair. For more information visit

WipAire celebrates 50th

AMT attended the Minnesota Business Aviation Association’s September luncheon which was held at WipAire Inc. located at the South St. Paul Airport in the Twin Cities. This year Wipaire celebrates 50 years and three generations of Wiplinger float design and manufacturing. In 1960 company founder Ben Wiplinger began designing and constructing his first set of floats. Congratulation goes to Wipaire, Inc. as it celebrates this historic event and continues with the long tradition of designing and building aircraft floats. For more information visit

Enterprise increases Houston facility

Enterprise Jet Center is expanding its complex at Hobby Airport in Houston. It has moved its entire maintenance department into the company’s former hangar adjacent to the current terminal. The 30,000-square-foot hangar gives Enterprise more dedicated space for maintenance and repair services. The facility handles Gulfstream, Challenger, Citation, King Air, Hawker, Lear Jet, Beechjet, and Falcon 2000 aircraft.

AAR has new leaders

AAR has a new leadership team at its Aviation Worldwide Services (AWS) subsidiary, which provides airlift services and aircraft modifications for the U.S. and other government customers. AAR acquired AWS and its subsidiaries, Presidential Airways and STI Aviation, in April 2010.

Joseph Ford has been appointed general manager of Presidential Airways. Steve Peckham has been named general manager of STI Aviation. Thomas Howell joins AAR as vice president of quality and safety at AWS.

Aviall and Pentagon 2000 partner

Pentagon 2000 Software Inc. and Aviall Inc. have adopted an agreement for a web services interface that makes Aviall’s inventory easily accessible for Pentagon 2000’s aerospace and defense customers. This system will provide Pentagon customers with a direct web link to Aviall’s extensive parts network utilizing the latest technologies resulting in increased efficiency and shorter turnaround time. Customers who have adopted Pentagon 2000’s ERP system will have direct, real-time access to Aviall’s inventory. Current prices, availability, and delivery information will be easily accessible 24 hours a day from Aviall.

AMTSociety toolbox raffle

To support the AMTSociety Scholarship Awards program, Snap-on Industrial is donating a $2,500 seven-drawer toolbox, Model KRA4107D, along with $2,500 Snap-on tools of the winner’s choice. Measuring 40” x 20”, the toolbox will be awarded to the winner of a drawing following the Maintenance Skills Competition on Feb. 25, 2011 in Las Vegas. The cost of the tickets is one for $5 or three for $10 and is tax deductible as the scholarship fund is under 501(c)3 status. Tickets will be available at IA seminars, Cygnus Aviation Expo, and from the Board of Directors.

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