August 16, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Two indicators of tough times in the aerospace industry recently come from Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan. Property held by the firm since World War II was sold, and union talks on job locations start anew.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers will reopen negotiations this week on job locations. The company plans to move work to an as-yet undetermined location in the South, but the union would like to keep as many jobs as possible in Wichita.
The company once owned two lakes that were to be a source of water for manufacturing during World War II. Employees used them for fishing and a site for baseball competition. One was sold years ago and has been developed. The other sold in August to a drilling company that plans to develop it one day, and move its corporate headquarters to the site. Employees will continue baseball league activities and fishing until the property is developed, and that won’t happen until the current recession is over.
Murfin Inc., the drilling company, bought 100 acres of 160 available acres to hold for future development. The remainder continues on the market and includes an office building once used by Hawker Beechcraft.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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