aviation

Frank Morris / KCUR

Wichita, Kan., calls itself the "Air Capital of the World."

But sales of the business jets made there took a nosedive during the recession and have struggled since.

A couple of fresh business ideas are trying to help. One centers on getting more people to travel in small planes. The other is repurposing business jet technology to build a jet fighter for the developing world. 

Hard times in Wichita

Wichita’s been through some tough years recentl. And so has Kevin Bell.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the state is serious about attracting investments from aircraft and aviation companies.

Brownback attended the Paris Air Show last month to meet with industry representatives. He says the air show, which bills itself as the world's largest, provides an opportunity to showcase Kansas as a place for aviation business.

Josh Beasly/Flickr--CC

Gov. Sam Brownback is leading a trade delegation to the Paris Air Show this week. The trip to France is aimed at attracting aviation business to Kansas and drumming up sales for the aircraft industry in the state.

"You could travel all over the world for a month to try and get these meetings that you can get in three days at these major air shows, " says Brownback.

"And, it is such a major industry for us as a state that we need to push it and we need to make sure we're on everybody's front and center mind if they're looking to expand."

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

The Kansas City city council has voted to move ahead with laying plans for a single-terminal concept for KCI Airport.  though, that it doesn't guarantee that a new terminal will be built.

Jamail Larkins: A Pilot's Life

Jun 28, 2012

He took his first flying lesson at 12, his first solo flight by 14, air shows by 18, and now, in his 20s, Jamail Larkins runs his own aviation firm and is on a crusade to encourage kids to soar in the field of transportation.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The tornado season started early in much of the nation and continued over the weekend. Spotters reported more than 120 tornadoes on Saturday. One killed five people in Woodward, Oklahoma. Others ripped into homes and businesses in Iowa and Kansas. And that includes the heart of the economy in Wichita, the aviation industry. Here's Frank Morris from member station KCUR.