More than 500 owners and operators of Wichita-built Bonanza airplanes are in Wichita this week for a “homecoming” and trade show.
About 100 to 125 of them flew their Bonanzas – along with a few Barons and Debonairs – to Wichita, landing at Beech Field.
The convention, which began Wednesday and runs through Sunday, is sponsored by the American Bonanza Society.
Most of the event, called the 2014 ABS Homecoming & Trade Show, is being held at the Hyatt Regency Wichita hotel.
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The convention is held annually at locations around the country. Every five or six years it’s held in Wichita, said Tom Turner, executive director of ABS Air Safety Foundation. The last time was in 2007.
It includes seminars, tours of the Beechcraft factory, a hangar party, an air safety presentation, and formation flying by the Beech Nutz and the Texas V-Tails teams.
The keynote speaker is Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
“The real highlight of our events are the educational programs,” Turner said. Seminars address flying, maintaining and owning Beech airplanes.
The exhibits are popular as well, he said.
“It’s one-stop shopping for items for modifying, flying and maintaining” the aircraft, he said.
Depending on weather, the formation flying will take place over Beech Field at about 5 or 5:30 p.m. Friday.
About a third of the visitors are attending for the first time.
“A great many of them come here to see friends they’ve met over the years,” Turner said.
Those wanting to attend Friday or Saturday sessions may still buy day passes during the convention at the Hyatt, he said.