Ed Hackett is program director for a small military jet, the Scorpion, designed from scratch and built in secret over the past two years at Cessna’s plant on Pawnee.
The project, announced last week, is a joint venture between a new Textron division, Textron AirLand, and AirLand Enterprises. A prototype is expected to fly this year.
The plane is a light jet designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with a scaled strike capability, Hackett said.
Hackett, 53, grew up in New York and spent 25 years in the military.
As a sophomore in high school, Hackett knew he wanted to be a fighter pilot.
“Once I started flying, I fell in love with the machines,” Hackett said. “Some people love the pageantry of flying. For me it’s all about the machines. Being able to participate in the development of one — that’s what’s so exciting.”
Hackett is a graduate of the U.S Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Md. He earned a master’s degree in international strategic planning from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
After retiring from the military, Hackett started a small company that works on research and development for projects related to operational fielding.
He came to work on the Scorpion project at Textron AirLand in Wichita two years ago.
Hackett and his wife, Alexandra, have two college-age children, Edward Jr., and Alexandra Lee.