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Wichita entrepreneurs acquire Kitfox Ultralight production rights

WICHITA–Wichita entrepreneurs James and Kathy Wiebe have acquired the rights to manufacture an ultralight aircraft called the Kitfox Lite.

The Wiebes have formed a new business called Belite Aircraft to market it.

The company will offer kits and fully assembled aircraft.

The couple has acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights to the aircraft.

As a condition of the transaction, they plan to rebrand the plane to prevent confusion with a larger, two-place light sport Kitfox that shares some design features but is owned by another company.

The Wiebes will announce availability and pricing later this summer at the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, Wis. They expect to have an aircraft on display there.

They could not immediately be reached for comment.

James Wiebe, an instrument-rated pilot, is developing a proprietary lightweight carbon fiber structure he will incorporate into the plane's construction.

He also will include other modifications into the design to further improve performance and versatility, Wiebe said in a statement.

Converting the spars, ribs and struts to the carbon fiber will reduce the aircraft's weight, which will bring it well below Federal Aviation Administration weight limits for ultralight vehicles, according to information in a news release.

The carbon fiber will have potential for other aircraft and in other markets, they said.

The Wiebes are the founders and former owners of WiebeTech, a digital forensic computer storage device company, and Newer Technologies.