A recent ceremony in Wichita celebrated progress on the new Mid-Continent Airport terminal, which will finally give travelers a first impression that lives up to the name: Air Capital of the World. No other place on the planet has been so important to the history and development of business aviation.
The new terminal – about 25 percent complete and due to open in 2015 – aims to impress visitors with fresh aviation-inspired design. The roof evokes a wing and seems poised to take flight. Installations tell the story of Wichita’s incomparable aviation history in photos, illustrations and concise, colorful stories. A centerpiece light sculpture floats above ticketing counters, capturing the feeling of ascent and descent.
At the festivities, we placed the center beam, a symbol that the structure is here to stay. It follows a centuries-old Norse construction tradition, workers raise the center steel beam – bearing a flag, an evergreen tree and signatures of people who helped with the project – into position (pictured above). I was privileged to be among those who signed the steel girder before it rose to take its place aloft.
It’s destined to become a focal point for the pride Wichitans take in our aviation heritage. And a memorable reminder to visitors that they have, indeed, arrived at the Air Capital.