Aviation

For first time in 22 years, Bombardier event attracting hundreds won’t be in Wichita

Mico Renee, an emergency procedure trainer for Aircare FACTS Training, center, instructs pilots and flight crew members during Bombardier’s Safety Standdown in a workshop on egress training in the Wichita Hyatt Regency pool in 2013.
Mico Renee, an emergency procedure trainer for Aircare FACTS Training, center, instructs pilots and flight crew members during Bombardier’s Safety Standdown in a workshop on egress training in the Wichita Hyatt Regency pool in 2013. The Wichita Eagle

An annual event that attracts hundreds of people to Wichita for three days won’t be held here next year.

Bombardier, the Canadian parent of Learjet business jets, said Monday it is moving its Safety Standdown event next year to Dallas.

The event, which was held last week at the Wichita Hyatt Regency and was attended by 500 people, has been held here since its inception 22 years ago.

Bombardier said late Monday that the move isn’t permanent.

“Wichita is the home of Safety Standdown,” Bombardier Business Aircraft spokeswoman Dominique Cristall said in an e-mail. “We’ve opted to hold next year’s event in Dallas, where Bombardier also has an important presence.”

She said the hosting the event next year in Dallas is “part of our commitment to spread our safety messages in other key business aviation centers.”

Cristall also noted that in past years it has hosted safety standdowns in other foreign cities — Geneva, Switzerland; Shanghai, China; and Sao Paulo, Brazil — in years where it also hosted in Wichita.

The event, which is free to aviation professionals, generally attracts pilots, mechanics, aviation safety officials and business aircraft owners from across the country to hear from a cadre of speakers on the latest in aviation safety topics.

Past speakers have included National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt as well as officials from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the FBI.

Bombardier officials have said the idea from the event came from a safety program for Learjet demonstration pilots, and that it builds goodwill for the company and its brands.

The Montreal-based company employs 1,600 in Wichita, where it assembles Learjet business jets, maintains and repairs all makes of Bombardier business aircraft, and operates a flight test center for both its commercial and business aircraft.

It also plans to move completions work — the installation of bulkheads, seats and cabinetry — on its Global 5000 and 5500 jets from Canada to Wichita, and hire 100 more workers by the end of the year.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark
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