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US plane makers teaming with Chinese firms

July 16, 2012 • Business


FILE – In this January 2011 file photo, employees build a Beechcraft King Air at the Hawker Beechcraft plant in Wichita, Kan. The struggling aircraft maker announced Monday, July 10, 2012 that it had reached a $1.79 billion “exclusivity agreement” with a Chinese aerospace manufacturer for the sale of its business jet and general aviation operations in a deal that will save thousands of jobs in Kansas and Arkansas. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Molly McMillin, File) MAGS OUT; TV OUT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Walter Beech was one of America’s greatest aviation pioneers, a former World War I flyer who spent three years after the war touring the country as a barnstorming exhibition pilot. That experience spawned ideas for aircraft design, inspiration that came to fruition in 1932 when he and his wife founded Beech Aircraft Co.

Today, the airplane maker that traces its roots to that iconic Kansas company is fighting for its very survival in bankruptcy court. Hawker Beechcraft — one of the lynchpin companies that helped make Wichita the “Aviation Capital of the World” — is now betting its future on Chinese industrialist Shenzong Cheng and his wife, Qin Wang.

The announcement last week that Hawker Beechcraft had reached an agreement to sell its business jet and general aviation operations to Cheng’s company exemplifies emerging Login to read more

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