WSU National Institute for Aviation Research converting airplanes

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WERX from the National Institute of Aeronautical Research at Wichita State University (NIAR) has received its first passenger Boeing 777-300ER which will be converted to a freighter.  The Kansas Modification Center is a new venture that will meet the growing needs for MRO and conversion programs due to the growing e-commerce and express freight markets.  (September 8, 2021)

WERX from the National Institute of Aeronautical Research at Wichita State University (NIAR) has received its first passenger Boeing 777-300ER which will be converted to a freighter. The Kansas Modification Center is a new venture that will meet the growing needs for MRO and conversion programs due to the growing e-commerce and express freight markets. (September 8, 2021)

Eagle Correspondent

An office at the National Aviation Research Institute at Wichita State University is expanding its aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul initiative and will convert a Boeing aircraft.

NIAR’s WERX location received its first passenger Boeing 777-300ER that workers will convert to a freight plane, the university said on Wednesday. It will then be transferred to a customer in the e-commerce and express freight market.

“This is an exceptional chance for students to gain hands-on, real-world experience, working under the mentorship of experienced engineers and certified mechanics,” said Sheree Utash, president of WSU Tech, in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how the growing program would impact employment figures at NIAR and in the region’s aviation industry.

NIAR will convert the aircraft alongside the Kansas Modification Center, a new venture to meet the needs of the aviation industry for maintenance, repair and overhaul programs. He will own the aircraft’s supplemental type certificate and authorize the conversions.

The new company is led by Jim Gibbs, founder of a Rose Hill-based aerospace company, according to the company’s website.

In addition to jobs, the 777 aircraft conversion program will provide students with a hands-on learning opportunity at Wichita State College of Engineering and WSU Tech’s airframe and powertrain mechanics programs.

“This is a rare opportunity for students to gain experience working on an industrial program alongside and under the guidance of NIAR’s team of seasoned experts,” said Dave Jones, Director of NIAR WERX , in a press release. “Our engineers have the unique opportunity to pass their 7,500 years of combined experience in design, production and testing to the next generation of aviation professionals. “

NIAR WERX modification facilities are located near McConnell Air Force Base on the south side of Wichita. Typically, workers at the WERX location quickly implement methods to design, modify, test and certify new aircraft and modifications or overhauls.

NIAR WERX employees design the structure and subsystems; stress, fatigue and damage tolerance; avionics for electrical and mechanical systems; flight sciences, external loads and structural dynamics and certification of power plants and airworthiness.

Gov. Laura Kelly and Senator Jerry Moran visited McConnell Air Force Base on Wednesday for the announcement. In a statement, Kelly said the new collaboration fits well with the State for Growth framework, an economic development plan for Kansas developed by the Kelly administration.

The collaboration “will create new opportunities for commercial aviation while demonstrating the world-class sophistication of our state’s aviation experts,” Kelly said in a statement.

“There is no better state than Kansas to take full advantage of this project – the opportunity is tailor-made for our state and our aerospace assets. “

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Megan Stringer reports for The Wichita Eagle, where she focuses on the issues facing the working class, work and employment. She joined The Eagle in June 2020 as a member of the corps with Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues and communities. Previously, Stringer covered business and economic development for USA Today Network-Wisconsin, where his award-winning stories spanned everything from retail to manufacturing and healthcare.

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