Rockford Skies: The Power Behind The Planes

Jun 30, 2016

At first glance, Rockford doesn’t seem like a place where aerospace would spring up.  Yes, it has an airport, but what morphed this northern Illinois city into a hub for critical aircraft components? 

  In this case, it was a matter of having the right equipment.  

“The machine tool businesses that were here at the time then helped grow that industry, helped enable us to manufacture those kinds of parts here.” 

Rockford Skies: Keeping The Planes Running

Jun 29, 2016
Chase Cavanaugh

When northern Illinois residents think of airplanes, the most common association is probably Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Yet just as important to local aviation is Rockford, which is a hub for the aerospace industry.

  Many of the market's big players -- such as Woodward, AAR Corporation, and UTC Aerospace Systems -- focus on designing efficient systems and cutting-edge manufacturing processes. Yet for every major conglomerate, there are many smaller companies that act in a supply and maintenance role.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

A group of Rockford-area educators and business-people think they have an answer to one of the region’s employment problems: they’ve developed a path to take talented students all the way from high school to careers in the aerospace industry.