Aviation

Wichita aviation started 100 years ago Sept. 1

On Sept. 1, 1916, Clyde Cessna signed a contract at the J.J. Jones Car Co. building to start manufacturing planes.
On Sept. 1, 1916, Clyde Cessna signed a contract at the J.J. Jones Car Co. building to start manufacturing planes.

Most Wichitans were probably unaware that major Wichita history was taking place on Sept. 1, 1916.

On that day, the Air Capital of the World was born: Clyde Cessna signed a contract at the J.J. Jones Car Co. building to start manufacturing planes.

Cessna, a Kingman County farmer, flew his first plane in May 1911. But by 1916, he was ready to build them.

During the winter of 1916-17, he began building the first planes constructed in Wichita in a corner of the Jones Car building at 801 E. 37th St. North.

More than one-fifth of America’s civilian aircraft are built in Wichita or by Wichita companies.

“As one airline pilot once said, ‘You can’t land at any airport in the world without seeing a Wichita airplane,’ ” said Richard Harris, former chairman of the Kansas aviation centennial.

Textron Aviation Cessna's Kevin Steinert discusses the business jet maker's newest -- and biggest -- airplane, from the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Las Vegas. Video by Jerry Siebenmark / Nov. 18, 2015)

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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