May 14, 2012
By Alyssa J. Miller
Often dubbed the “Air Capital of the World,” Wichita, Kan., has taken several severe blows since the economic downturn that started in 2008, with aircraft manufacturers including Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, and Bombardier laying off thousands. The layoffs continue, with Hawker Beechcraft just days ago announcing a round of 150 more employees, according to The Wichita Eagle .
An area with so many skilled workers with extensive aviation manufacturing knowledge is a prime target for aircraft companies that are hiring. Kestrel Aircraft Co. is seeking to tap into that base by hosting a job fair in Wichita May 15 through 17. As AOPA reported in January, Kestrel plans to have 600 employees by 2016.
The company, led by Cirrus co-founder Alan Klapmeier, has facilities in Brunswick, Maine, and Superior, Wis.; the Kestrel K-350 aircraft will be built in Superior. The six-seat composite turboprop should cruise at more than 300 knots. (See “ Compelling Kestrel” in the February 2011 AOPA Pilot.)
The job fair takes place at the Holiday Inn – Wichita East and kicks off with an informational session from 6 to 7 p.m. on May 15; open recruiting will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 16 and 17. Kestrel has positions open at each location for engineering and manufacturing.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
Ice protection and a gross weight increase are improving the utility of the Lancair Evolution turboprop, according to Doug Meyer, CEO of the Oregon aircraft kit manufacturer.
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