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Rally celebrates new small aircraft certification law

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at 7:21 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, at 7:21 p.m.

A new law that aims to streamline certification for small aircraft will make it faster and less expensive to get new products to market – and that will mean jobs for south-central Kansas, industry leaders said at an aviation rally Monday afternoon.

A rally to celebrate the passage of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act was attended by industry, union and government leaders from Wichita at the Machinists District 70 hall in south Wichita.

The goal is to make airplane certification more efficient and effective, improve safety and foster the development of light, general-aviation airplanes, industry leaders said.

“Aviation does matter in Kansas,” said Beechcraft Corp. CEO Bill Boisture.

“From here come the finest general-aviation airplanes in the world.”

If implemented correctly, changes to the regulatory structure will cut the cost of getting products to consumers, Boisture said.

Manufacturers have invested less in new products for a simple reason: the expense, Boisture said. Streamlining the process will provide a better environment for manufacturers to invest in products, he said.

“Manufacturers will have an incentive to bring new products to market,” Boisture said.

The bill, three years in the making, was written and introduced by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita. It passed with bipartisan support in the House and Senate and was signed by President Obama last month.

Ultimately, the law will help Kansas companies compete and sell airplanes, Pompeo said at the rally.

“They need people to build those airplanes,” he said.

The industry supports nearly 1.2 million U.S. jobs, including about 32,000 in Kansas, and generates $150 billion in economic activity, Boisture said.

The new law will cut certification costs for the manufacturer and for the government in half, said Pete Bunce, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, who also attended Monday’s event. It also will help U.S. manufacturers export products, he said.

“This will mean real change,” Bunce said.

Streamlining the certification process will also help area suppliers, said Don McGinty with McGinty Machine in Wichita.

“If you make it easier to get work from the drawing board to the line, it always helps jobs in Kansas,” McGinty said.

Getting work more quickly to the suppliers who support the industry puts money into the Wichita economy faster, McGinty said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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