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Kestrel CEO Talks to Public

Posted at: 03/19/2013 10:13 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

About 50 people squeezed into a hanger at Bong Memorial Airport on Tuesday to ask questions about Kestrel Aircraft.

CEO Alan Klapmeier was happy to answer, and even brought along a mock-up of the Kestrel.

“Basically to just give a little broader part of the community a chance to listen to what we're doing at Kestrel. Learn a little bit about the composite program that's coming and show people the mock-up. Kind of update people on the process,” Klapmeier said.

The event was hosted by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, and paying a small fee meant the chance to grill the CEO.

Klapmeier answered questions ranging from how far the Kestrel can fly to hurdles in financing the project.

Aircraft mechanic Alan White said those answers reassured him about the future of Kestrel in Superior.

“Some of the things that we've all been wondering about as far as the progress of the project and some of the hurdles that invariably come up I think he answered quite well,” White said.

And that has him excited. White said Kestrel is a bright spot in the community.

“Superior is in a perpetual recession. Every time you turn around we're getting bad news, and it's so seldom that we get good news like this with really good jobs,” White said.

For now the plane is only a mock-up, but Kestrel has residents on the edge of their seats waiting for the company to take flight.

The event was a follow-up to WITC partnering with Kestrel to create a composite program at the school. Kestrel hopes the program will will train some future employees to help them build the body of the plane from carbon fiber composites.

Kestrel hopes to break ground on their composite plant sometime this spring.