Airbus exec John O’Leary to be honored at Aero Club gala

John O’Leary and Airbus Americas Engineering will be honored Saturday at the Wichita Aero Club’s annual gala.

Sen. Jerry Moran is the guest speaker at the event.

O’Leary leads Airbus’ office in Old Town, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in Wichita last summer.

He is the third recipient of the Wichita Aero Club trophy.

“Eleven years ago, there was no Airbus presence in Wichita when the European aircraft manufacturer recognized an opportunity that would create jobs, allow Wichita to retain talented engineers and provide the company with a resource in the ‘Air Capital,’ ” Wichita Aero Club president Dave Franson said in a statement.

The vision and confidence Airbus displayed resulted in an important and productive presence in Wichita that has contributed significantly to Airbus’s product development, Franson said.

The site is Airbus’s largest engineering facility outside Europe.

The Wichita Aero Club was formed in 2008 to foster and promote aviation, provide a forum for industry issues and achievements and enhance professional relationships.

Velma Wallace, philanthropist and wife of Cessna Aircraft’s Dwane Wallace, was the group’s first trophy recipient. Wallace died last year.

Jeff Turner, CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, received the trophy at last year’s gala.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

Reservations can be made through Wednesday by calling (316) 681-4471.

Tickets are $125 for members, $150 for nonmembers and $1,100 for a table of 10.