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Fly High and Fast – Vol. II Chapter 22: Kansas

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JJ Meehan
The Meehan Family

Over a period of several months in 1988 and 1989 I made several trips to Kansas, USA.  Olathe Kansas is located just south of Kansas City Missouri and is a growing metropolitan area.  As with many places this became my home away from home for many years.   I would normally stay at the Holiday Inn in Olathe which was a very upscale Holiday Inn with fantastic rooms and service.

Wichita, Kansas is located in the heart of Kansas and is the home of several aircraft manufactures including Cessna and Boeing.

Goodland Kansas is located on the western edge of Kansas just before you enter Colorado.  I was blessed with just one trip to Goodland but one that stands out one of my best flights with fantastic memories.

Kansas ranks 8th in U.S. natural gas production. Production has steadily declined since the mid-1990s with the gradual depletion of the Hugoton Natural Gas Field—the state’s largest field which extends into Oklahoma and Texas. In 2004, slower declines in the Hugoton gas fields and increased coalbed methane production contributed to a smaller overall decline. Average monthly production was over 32 billion cubic feet (0.9 km³).

The Kansas economy is also heavily influenced by the aerospace industry. Several large aircraft corporations have manufacturing facilities in Wichita and Kansas City, including Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing, Cessna, Learjet, and Hawker Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon).  Largest Employers (by number of Kansan employees) Rank Business Employees Location

#1 Spirit AeroSystems 21,000 Wichita
#2 Fort Riley 12,500 Riley County
#3 Van Enterprises 6,000 Shawnee Mission
#4 University of Kansas Medical Center 5,000 Kansas City
#5 Via Christi St. Joseph Hospital 5,000 Wichita
#6 Olathe Medical Center 4,000 Olathe
#7 Via Christi St. Francis Hospital 3,300 Wichita
#8 Kansas State University 3,030 Manhattan
#9 Examone World Wide 3,000 Lenexa
#10 Koch Industries 3,000 Wichita

The following map will give you and idea of the three diversified areas that I visited in Kansas.  The east is very metropolitan and has the Kansas City Metropolitan area as it’s center.  The center part of the state has aerospace companies, oil companies and farming.  The west is really ranching and cowboys.

Goodland, Kansas

Goodland Kansas is one of the last towns in Kansas before you enter Colorado.  I spent 3 days here and had one of the best times of my life.  All I did was sleep, eat, and swim at the Holiday Inn Pool.  The people were fantastic.  I was totally relaxed by the time we left.  This was after landing N610WA with a full load of passengers and as we taxied into the ramp on a grave strip, I managed to badly nick both propellers.  I spent the first day working with the mechanic to get the nicks out of the propellers (props).  The propellers are turning at such high speeds that small nicks can cause vibration and even failures.  Both propellers had to be rebalanced and when we got home but we did get home safely.  Goodland is a quiet little town with some of the friendliest people in the world.   I hope some day I can spend 3 more days relaxing in the fantastic little town.


Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas is located in the heartland of Kansas and is the home of aerospace businesses.  I made two trips to Wichita, KS and on the second, it was over night and I decided to drive about 120 miles to the north and see the President Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, KS.

Abilene, KS was an old cattle town with a repetition of being wild.  In the 1800’s it was considered part of the western frontier.  Abilene began as a stage coach stop in 1857, established by Timothy Hersey and named from a passage in the Bible, meaning “city of the plains.” The town grew quickly when Joseph G. McCoy decided to use the town for the location of his stockyards. Abilene became the very first “cow town” of the west.  Dwight David Eisenhower was born here on October 14th, 1890.  He was the 34th President of the United States.  We have had an opportunity to visit all but one of the Presidential Libraries and his is one of the best.

Olathe, Kansas

Olathe, Kansas is a suburb of Kansas City Missouri.  Johnson County Executive Airport handles a lot of general aviation and executive traffic.  You are 30 minutes from downtown Kansas City, MO and also have access to several business areas in the southern part of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas.

I looked forward to staying at the Holiday Inn in Olathe.  I normally preferred Hiltons and Marriot Hotels but this was one of the few Holiday Inn’s that gave exceptional service.  I enjoyed the area and appreciated quick access to Overland Park, Kansas, Shawnee, Kansas, Lenexa, Kansas and Leawood, Kansas plus Kansas City Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.  Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in western Missouri or eastern Kansas and has all the benefits of places like Chicago, and St. Louis with less traffic.  I’ll cover Kansas City Missouri in more detail in my chapter on Kansas City but the whole area is exceptional and has not been affected by the recession of 2009 as badly as some parts of the USA.


I’ve talked to many executives who travel a lot and from my own experience, I know that you have very little time to see the sights of the places where you visit on business.  I have been blessed with the time to visit places as a Charter Pilot, and also as a Corporate Pilot.  Seeing the USA has always been my dream.  Flying has allowed me to fulfill that dream.

I hope you have enjoyed this blog on flying and travel.  Please visit my WEB Site on Flying for more stories at “FLY HIGH AND FAST”.


Written by jjmeehan13

February 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

Posted in Flying

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