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The People.
The Promise.
The Planes.

Wichita brought it all together. It claimed the title of Air Capital of the World in 1928 and holds it still. The birthplace of Beechcraft, Cessna, Learjet, Mooney and Stearman has built roughly 300,000 aircraft. More than any other place on the planet. Today it builds leading piston aircraft, advanced business jets and major aircraft components. It’s quite a story. One that continues to unfold.

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Why Wichita Matters

At one time, the city was home to 16 aircraft manufacturers, six engine factories, 11 airports and a dozen flying schools. The Air Capital helped secure Allied victory in WWII with its trainers, bombers and drones. It set the stage for modern commercial airliners as a major producer of Boeing’s revolutionary B-47 Stratojet. It ushered in the jet set and a new way to think about business aviation. Wichita has delivered more than half of all the general aviation airplanes ever built and has one of the world’s highest concentrations of highly skilled aviation workers. Every day the Air Capital adds to its ongoing story.

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An Aviation Book For All

Few in-depth histories exist that explore the individuals and companies who made Wichita the Air Capital of the World. This book occupies a niche all its own.

While it serves to educate, it’s more about inspiring the reader. To ignite the wonder of flight. To promote aviation and Wichita’s role in it. We designed this book for all: aviation enthusiasts and general audiences, young and old, locals and visitors. Consider it our gift to a beloved industry and community. Enjoy.

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  • We’ve lost a number of contributors to the development of this magnificent history display who shared their accounts of Wichita’s rise to the Air Capital. They deserve our grateful remembrance.

    – Victor White, Director of Airports
    Wichita Airport Authority

  • I applaud Greteman Group’s decision to commemorate the Air Capital’s history in this one-of-a-kind book. You will fall in love with the people who gave Wichita wings.

    – Teresa Day, Former Executive Director, Kansas Aviation Museum

  • You want this book on your desk, on your bookshelf, on your coffee table. Most of all, in your hands.

    – Dave Franson, President, Wichita Aero Club

  • This isn’t just a book of facts. It’s a living account of a dynamic time that shaped a community, an industry and the way we travel. I’m proud of the role my parents played in making these things happen.

    – Mary Lynn Oliver, daughter of Walter and Olive Ann Beech and publisher of The Barnstormer and the Lady

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How This Book Came to Be

Telling Wichita’s aviation story stands out as a highlight of our agency’s 30-year history. When we were selected in 2007 to create an aviation display for the new terminal at Wichita’s municipal airport, we committed ourselves to doing it justice. And getting it right.

Our first step: the creation of a powerhouse advisory board. We worked with area aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, historians and civic leaders. We sourced stories, double-checked facts and, more than once, served as arbiter for nuances in interpretations, memories and records. We fostered collaboration through an online forum, helping guarantee no unhappy post-production surprises.

Today, the result of our labors can be seen in three-dimensional, monumental displays that populate the waiting area and concourses within the beautiful Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport terminal, which opened May 2015. And now you can read it in this book.

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Order Today

Books now available for pick up at Greteman Group’s offices in downtown Wichita, 1425 E. Douglas, 67211 – great for avoiding shipping charges and for bulk orders. We are open Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing can also be found at a number of Wichita retailers and gift shops including B-29 Doc Hangar & Education Center, Exploration Place, FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training, Kansas Aviation Museum, Sedgwick County Historical Museum, The Workroom, Watermark Books, Wichita Art Museum and Yingling Aviation Aviator’s Attic. Sonia Greteman is scheduled to speak about the book at several aviation and community events this fall.

$39.99
$29.99 for bulk orders (more than 20 copies)
Hard-cover, 180 pages, 11″ x 8″

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Our Path to Aviation

Greteman Group has made the Air Capital home since 1989. We started working with Learjet in 1991 and quickly made aviation our niche. We began attending the big NBAA tradeshows and reading industry pubs. For almost a decade, we created Bombardier’s Contrails magazine, traveling the world to profile CEOs, entrepreneurs, flight department directors, pilots and mechanics. Our already strong pull toward aviation grew as our industry knowledge broadened and deepened. Clients rolled in: fractional, training, FBO, MRO, airport, insurance, inflight connectivity, suppliers, support services, airlines. The list keeps expanding. From our base in the Air Capital, we don’t simply love aviation. We live it.