Kansas Soars Kansas has a proud history as an aerospace manufacturing leader. Some of the industry's earliest pioneers, including Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech, made Kansas their home. During the 1940's, Boeing's B-29 Superfortresses rolled off Wichita's assembly lines. In 1954, Wichita began producing the iconic B-52 bombers, aircraft that are still in service today. More than 106 years since the first plane was built in Kansas, the state remains a vibrant hub for aviation manufacturing. Manufacturers in the state leverage low operating costs, a skilled workforce and world-class research institutions to build some of the most iconic planes in the world. Aerospace Powerhouse Aviation accounts for more than $5 billion of Kansas GDP, or nearly 3.5 percent. This far surpasses the national average of .07 percent. Export Leader Kansas companies export $2.7 billion in aerospace products annually, 23.8 of total exports. National Training and Research Center NCAT The National Center for Aviation Training provides industry-driven training courses for the aviation manufacturing industry. NCAT gives students the opportunity to receive hands-on, real-world training in general aviation manufacturing, and aircraft and power plant mechanics. NIAR The National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University provides research, design, testing, certification and training to industry, government agencies, educational entities and other clients. NIAR's clients include Boeing, Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, Beechcraft and Spirit AeroSystems. Innovation Campus The Innovation Campus brings together industry expertise and Wichita State University’s research, commercialization and education capabilities. Several companies have located operations on the campus and conducted research in partnership with university faculty. The largest of these is Airbus’ engineering center, with nearly 300 employees.