One-quarter of all jobs in Wichita, Kansas are in the aviation sector. The industry is so significant to the state that Kansas calls itself the ‘air capital of the world' and estimates that GA aircraft worth $4.7 billion were manufactured in the state in 2001.


It's a massive business: more than a quarter of a million aircraft have been manufactured in the state since 1990. Big players including Boeing, Cessna, Raytheon and Bombardier all manufacture in Wichita. But there are thousands of other smaller companies in the state whose fortunes are tied to the industry.

It is these companies that lieutenant governor Gary Sherrer is lending his support to as he champions the local industry to show delegates and senior UK politicians.

Sherrer says his experiences two years ago on his first visit to a Farnborough airshow were so good that he was determined to return and use this year's event as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for future investments.

"Aviation is a global industry. Its strength is in its partnerships. We see Farnborough as a fantastic opportunity to meet with potential partners to introduce them to what Kansas has to offer."


The companies exhibiting together under the State of Kansas banner (Hall 3, C22) wouldn't have been able to exhibit on their own, says Sherrer. "We're able to offset the cost and help these guys get their products in front of key industry players."

His administration has invested heavily in education in Kansas, contributing to the knowledge pool that he says makes the state such an attractive proposition.

"Kansas has been at the forefront of the industry since its inception. Generation after generation has been involved in the flying business so we have a rich history. But I'm here to stress that we have a key role to play in the aviation industry of the future."

That future involves the development of a new university bringing aviation-related disciplines together under one roof. Sherrer's aim is for the institution to be open in early 2004. He believes this, along with tax and cash incentives, will continue to bringing new players to the state.

One of the company's benefiting from Sherrer's patronage and making its Farnborough debut is Butler National Corporation. It received the Governors Export Award for its safety devices, specifically transient suppression devices (TSDs) that protect fuel quantity indicating systems. It has exported these to a number of Middle Eastern and African states.

It is now awaiting certification on a product that protects cockpit doors from depressurisation. Aric Peters, manager aviation safety products, is pleased to have the support of the lieutenant governor. "We'll take all the help we can get," he says.

Other companies exhibiting on the Kansas stand at Farnborough include IBT Aerospace, distributor of bearings and components to the aerospace and high technology industries; ICE Corporation, manufacturer of high performance electronic components and systems for precision aircraft controls; PlasticFab, manufacturer of composite components and composite metal assemblies for the aerospace industry.

Source: Flight Daily News