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Kansas Aviation Expo to expand its agenda and geography in its 2nd year

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, July 11, 2014, at 10:09 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, July 11, 2014, at 2:03 p.m.

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How to register

For more information or to register for the events, go to flykansas.org.

The second annual Kansas Aviation Expo will feature a Fly Kansas Air Tour, career expo and a day-long aviation business session to highlight the role aviation plays in Kansas and to promote aviation education.

Last year’s inaugural event in Wichita spanned an evening and a day.

This year’s expo will span five days and cities across the state, said Jesse Romo, director of the Kansas Department of Transportation's aviation division.

The expo, called Where Dreams Come True, is held to promote aviation, aviation education and career opportunities, Romo said.

It will be held Sept. 22 to 26.

The event is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Transportation’s aviation division and the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education.

“Aviation is for everyone,” Romo said. “It’s not just corporate fat cats.”

Not everyone wants to be a pilot, he said. Students can get involved in a variety of aviation careers.

“There’s something for everyone to do in it,” Romo said.

The first three days of the expo will feature a Kansas Air Tour, where pilots will make three stops a day to promote aviation and aviation education. Each day will focus on different aspects of aviation.

So far, about 15 pilots have signed up.

Students will attend most of the sessions at the stops.

On the first day, pilots will fly to Wellington, where the focus will be on aviation used in aerial applications. Then it’s off to have lunch at the Kansas Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. Also planned is a program in Dodge City by the Dodge City Community College and Universal Helicopters, which provides helicopter flight training.

On Day 2, pilots fly to Scott City, Salina and Topeka. The day will feature an exploration of military activity and unmanned systems, a full-motion simulator and a program in Topeka on training young people to fly.

The Air Tour’s third day includes stops in Pittsburg, Independence and Stearman Field in Benton. It will highlight the role of business aviation and jet aircraft, a tour of Cessna Aircraft in Independence, followed by a private hangar event for sponsors and air tour pilots at the Benton airport.

The expo’s fourth day will feature a career expo for about 400 students to promote aviation education. It will be attended by dignitaries and speakers, including Barrington Irving, the youngest person to fly around the world solo and the first black person to accomplish the feat.

A Thursday evening event will include a presentation by Amelia Rose Earhart about her re-creation of the around-the-world flight that had been planned by her famous namesake.

Earhart, who earned her pilot’s license in 2010, took off June 25 on the 24,300-nautical-mile journey from Oakland, Calif., 77 years after aviator Amelia Earhart disappeared trying to circle the globe. She is scheduled to return from the 17-day trip Saturday.

Earhart, a Denver news anchor, is flying the route in a Pilatus Pc-12 NG with a co-pilot. She launched the Fly with Amelia Foundation , which provides scholarships for high school girls to attend flight school.

She went to high school in Kansas, graduating from Tonganoxie High School, Romo said.

The last day of the expo will feature a business session with presentations on unmanned aerial systems, the revisions that are in the works on the certification of avionics and other aviation-related issues.

Last year’s business session drew about 100 attendees, Romo said. He expects that figure to double this year.

Friday’s session will be held at the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita.

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

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