Airbus to locate major engineering center at Wichita State University

Airbus America will relocate its Wichita engineering office to WSU's new Innovation Campus with a focus on increased partnering.

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Wichita State University (WSU, Wichita, KS, US) has signed letters of intent with Airbus Americas to locate the company's Wichita engineering center in a new building on WSU's Innovation Campus.

“This commitment by Airbus . . . represents a major step forward for our students and state,” said WSU president John Bardo. “This secures WSU’s future as a global center of engineering and will encourage other world-class firms to locate on our campus.”
Airbus will move from its current location in downtown Wichita, bringing around 400 employees to campus and many opportunities for applied learning in aerospace engineering.

“We intend to take full advantage of WSU’s applied learning strategy,” said John O’Leary, vice president of Airbus Americas Engineering. “Our intent is to partner with WSU to develop the strategy to the point that it is recognized as the benchmark program in the country.”

“Airbus’ presence on campus will allow them quick and easy access to our research and testing labs, faculty expertise and student employees,” said John Tomblin, vice president for research and technology transfer.

In recent years, Airbus has strengthened its relationship with WSU, especially the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR, Wichita, KS, US). In addition to contracting recurring composites and manufacturing training for its employees, Airbus recently performed full-scale structural testing of an A350 XWB pylon structure in NIAR’s Aircraft Structural Test and Evaluation Center. The pylon was designed by Airbus’ Wichita engineering office, and the test was the first of its kind to be conducted outside of the company’s European facilities.

Wichita State’s Innovation Campus concept was introduced in January 2014. This first building on the campus, which Airbus expects to occupy in 2017, will span two stories and 90,000 ft2 of space plus adjacent parking. It will be located close to NIAR and WSU’s new Experiential Engineering Building.