Aviation

Great Planes expo features Cessna competitors Piper, Pilatus

Great Planes Air Expo

A look at the different aircraft and aircraft makers at the Great Planes Air Expo on Wednesday at Mid-Continent Aviation Services at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport. (Video by Jerry Siebenmark / The Wichita Eagle)
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A look at the different aircraft and aircraft makers at the Great Planes Air Expo on Wednesday at Mid-Continent Aviation Services at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport. (Video by Jerry Siebenmark / The Wichita Eagle)

KCAC Aviation brought its Great Planes Air Expo to Wichita on Wednesday, showcasing nearly a dozen new aircraft from seven airplane makers, including competitors to Wichita-based Textron Aviation.

The Olathe-based company, an authorized dealer for Piper and Pilatus of Switzerland, held the event for a few hours Wednesday afternoon at Mid-Continent Aviation Services at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport.

Mid-Continent is also an authorized service center and dealer for Quest Aircraft’s Kodiak utility turboprop.

Carrie Gicante, KCAC Aviation marketing supervisor, said Wichita is the next-to-last stop for this year’s expo. KCAC has held the expo in nine states in 2016, the most since starting the annual event in 2009.

The idea behind the show is to bring a number of manufacturers and dealers in one spot to market their airplanes outside of the annual National Business Aviation Association’s annual convention and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s yearly AirVenture.

“You have greater odds (of attracting customers) if you come out with a variety of aircraft,” Gicante said.

Potential customers include “pilots looking to upgrade or business owners looking for different options for business travel,” Gicante said.

“There’s been a number of dealers who have had sales come directly from this event,” she added.

Among the aircraft making their Wichita debut was Piper Aircraft’s M600, said Drew McEwen, Piper’s vice president of sales and marketing. The single-engine turboprop is Vero Beach, Fla.-based Piper’s newest airplane, receiving Federal Aviation Administration type certification in June, McEwen said.

Other aircraft included a Pilatus PC-12 NG, a Daher TBM 930 and a Cirrus SR22. Wichita-based Textron Aviation had several aircraft on display as well, including a Beechcraft King Air, Cessna Grand Caravan and a Citation M2 business jet.

The last stop for the expo will be Thursday in Olathe.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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