Airbus Americas Engineering and John O’Leary to Receive WAC Trophy

November 19, 2012 8:11am

The Wichita Aero Club presented its 2012 Wichita Aero Club Trophy to Airbus Americas Engineering in Wichita and its current head, John O’Leary . Airbus was selected by the Club’s Selection Committee from among nine nominees. The WAC Trophy was presented at the Wichita Aero Club’s third annual Trophy Gala at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton at Wichita Airport on Saturday evening, January 26, 2013. “The selection of Airbus Americas Engineering acknowledges an impressive decade of development and growth,” noted Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club President. “Eleven years ago there was no Airbus presence in Wichita when the European aircraft manufacturer recognized an opportunity that would create jobs, allow Wichita to retain talented engineers and provide the company with a resource in the ‘Air Capital.’ The vision that Airbus displayed and the confidence they demonstrated has resulted in an important and productive presence in WIchita that has contributed significantly to the company’s product development over the past 10 years on such projects as the A 380. Under John O’Leary’s leadership, the operation has grown to over 350 engineers from an initial force of less than 30. It is Airbus’s largest engineering site outside of Europe ,” he added.

The citation which accompanied the nomination read:
Creating a major aerospace enterprise from scratch in the Air Capital of the World and growing it into a world class engineering center that also contributes in varied and significant ways to the local community provides an ample foundation for the nomination of Airbus Americas Engineering and John O’Leary for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy._
The nomination highlighted Airbus’s tenth anniversary and its significant contributions to the local community. To mark its first decade in Wichita the company created a local mentoring program funded by the France-based Airbus Corporate Foundation. The foundation plans to sponsor a program worth up to $250,000 via the United Way of the Plains. The company is working with Wichita State University’s engineering program to bring engineering mentors — both Airbus employees and WSU students — into USD 259’s Brooks Middle School. The project will focus on at-risk youths. It is an extension of a program called the FLYING CHALLENGE that Airbus initially launched in Toulouse, France.
In addition, Mr. O’Leary serves on the Board of Directors of the Wichita Aero Club and chairs the WAC’s Education Committee which has been responsible for creation of the Club’s initiatives to support aviation-related education, including the newly announced Ed Stimpson Scholarship.
”We are extremely pleased to honor Airbus Americas Engineering and John a in this way and we are looking forward to an exciting and enjoyable event in January when they receive this well-deserved recognition,” Franson added.

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding.
The WAC Trophy is awarded annually to a living person, group, or existing organization with a strong relationship to the greater Wichita area, who have distinguished him,her or themselves in the field of aviation or aerospace within the most recent calendar year or during a cumulative career of significant achievements and contributions. For more information on the Wichita Aero Club, the January 26 Gala or other Wichita Aero Club events, call 316-681-4491 or visit the WAC website at