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Historical Boeing 737 production in Plant II, Wichita, Kansas. Historical Boeing 737 production in Plant II, Wichita, Kansas.

Where Flight Begins

A Legacy of Innovation

Our Heritage — Spirit AeroSystems is a young company built on more than 90 years of aviation experience. Many of the world’s greatest aviation companies — Stearman, Boeing, Rockwell, North American and British Aerospace Corporation — have contributed to the Spirit legacy.

Spirit’s history in the U.S. dates back to 1927, when aviation pioneer Lloyd Stearman moved his factory, Stearman Aircraft Company, from California to Wichita, Kansas. Two years later, Boeing — known at that time as the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation — purchased Stearman Aircraft Company. The Boeing Wichita site produced some of the most important aircraft in history, including the B-29 Superfortress bomber, the B-47 Stratojet and the B-52 Stratofortress. In 1996, Boeing purchased Rockwell International’s operations in Oklahoma, which produced components for the 737, the International Space Station, the Joint Strike Fighter and the Nimrod MRA4.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Spirit’s history begins in the 1930s. In 1935, aviation pioneer David McIntyre established Scottish Aviation Ltd in Scotland’s Ayrshire countryside. The facility was an essential producer of aircraft during WWII. In the 1970s, the Scottish Aviation Ltd facility at Prestwick later became BAE Systems Aerostructures.

Historical image of Stearman Aircraft plant and Stearman Kaydet PT-17s on the current site of Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas.


Historical image of Boeing plant and B-29 aircraft on the current site of Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas.


Historical image of Boeing plant and B-52 aircraft on the current site of Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas.


Company Founding — In 2005, Boeing sold its Wichita division and Oklahoma operations. The new company, Spirit AeroSystems, began the transformation from a single-source supplier into an independent global supplier with multiple customers and platforms.

The following year, Spirit AeroSystems acquired the aerostructures business unit from BAE Systems, including its facilities in Prestwick, U.K. This operation is now known as Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited. Spirit Europe is one of the largest airframe suppliers to Airbus and is a key supplier of major wing structures.

Expansion and Growth — Since 2005, Spirit has strategically acquired operations of other leading aerospace companies, expanding company manufacturing and engineering operations globally. Spirit opened facilities in Malaysia in 2007, France in 2009 and North Carolina in 2010. Each year, Spirit has continued to expand its business, boost capabilities and ramp up production of aerostructures for the world’s premier aircraft.

Spirit AeroSystems global locations map.

Learn More About Spirit AeroSystems

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