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Sino Swearingen jet touches down in Martinsburg

October 18, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - It flew in on the prevailing winds and, one Sino Swearingen employee said, hopefully took the naysayers with it when it took off three hours later.

A Sino Swearingen SJ30-2, a seven-person jet partially manufactured in a Martinsburg plant, landed Monday afternoon at Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport and taxied to Sino Swearingen's plant adjacent to the airport.

There, employees could see firsthand what it was they helped to build. The jet was the first one manufactured in Martinsburg.

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Employees who build wing sections for the jets seemed especially interested in the plane's wings, while those who work on the fuselages seemed more interested in that section. All employees could take a look inside the plane, which is fully assembled and furnished in a plant in San Antonio, said Sino Swearingen Office Manager Pam Cusic.

"It was the first time that a great number of our employees actually got to see what they built," she said.

She called the experience of watching test pilot Mark Fairchild fly the plane "terrific."

"It's a wonderful sight," she said.

The plane landed at around 12:30 p.m. and remained at the facility for around three hours, before flying back to Texas. Employees of the plant's first and second shift were able to see it.

Cusic has been with Sino Swearingen since ground was broken several years ago for the Martinsburg plant, and she remains a strong believer in the company.

The naysayers who believed a jet would never be built here were proven wrong when the jet flew over Martinsburg in a pristine blue sky, she said.

"It's really exciting for me," Cusic said.

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