News - EDC of Lawrence & Douglas County

Lawrence, Chinese companies combine forces with propeller, airframe solutions

Lawrence, Chinese companies combine forces with propeller, airframe solutions
Sterna Composite Aircraft, Inc. will be based in Lawrence

Lawrence, Kan. – Lawrence-based company Design, Analysis and Research Corporation (DARCorporation) and Sterna Composite Aircraft, Inc. announced a joint venture to provide a complete approach to integrated composite propeller and airframe solutions for customer needs. The company will operate under the name Sterna Composite Aircraft, Inc., which currently operates out of China, and will be based in Lawrence. The joint venture will capitalize on the strong design capabilities DARcorporation has developed as a leading provider of aeronautical engineering services and on Sterna’s strength in the composite propeller and airframe manufacturing. The EDC of Lawrence and Douglas County started working with DARCorporation and Sterna in February 2017 on the possibility of bringing Sterna to Lawrence. The company visited Lawrence recently and quickly decided it’s where they wanted to locate.

“This agreement represents each organization’s strong commitment to provide customers with a single source for the best in composite propellers and airframes,” said Dr. Willem Anemaat, the president of DARcorporation. “This joint venture expands the DARcorporation services into a total product solution, from design, to prototyping, to testing, to production.”

“The combination of our strong design experience with advanced manufacturing process gives us a unique advantage in maximizing customer value and assuring our customers quality propeller and airframe products in the US market through seamless integration of both companies’ expertise,” said Sterna president Wei Zheng.

During Sterna’s visit to Lawrence, company leadership met with officials from the EDC, the City of Lawrence, and the University of Kansas, and toured potential locations for the new venture. Leadership also saw KU School of Engineering labs.

“Lawrence was up against a large, west coast city, but we knew if Sterna leadership visited our city, we could make a convincing argument for them to locate here,” said Steve Kelly, vice president of Economic Development for the EDC and The Chamber. “The recent visit to Lawrence was very positive and we’re very excited to have Sterna here in Lawrence. The combination of strengths with DARCorporation will make them an excellent competitor in the aviation sector.”

A collaboration between the EDC, the City of Lawrence, the State of Kansas, and the Kansas Department of Commerce made this business attraction project possible.

About Sterna Composite Aircraft, Inc.
Sterna Composite Aircraft, Inc. specializes in the manufacture of safe and efficient high quality carbon fiber ‘hollow’ composite propellers for the Ultralight, Light Sport Aircraft and the Airboat communities. Sterna is a company engaged in the research and development and manufacture of carbon fiber propellers. Sterna has 18 years of experience in manufacturing carbon fiber products and the composite propellers are made with a unique technology of crafting the blade in one piece.

About DARcorporation
DARcorporation has been offering aeronautical engineering software and consulting services since 1991. Our projects include single and multi-engine propeller and jet powered aircraft, Business Jets, Very Light Jets (VLJ), Kit, LSA and Experimental Category aircraft, VTOL aircraft, UAV’s for civil and military applications and hybrid air/ground vehicles. For more information, contact Dr. Willem Anemaat at or 785-832-0434 X 103.

About The EDC
The Economic Development Corporation of Lawrence & Douglas County is an allied partner of The Chamber, Lawrence, Kansas, the City of Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas. The goal of The EDC is to encourage job retention, expansion, and creation in order to foster the industrial and commercial growth to aid in developing the region. One method The EDC focuses on to enhance the business environment is the facilitation of strategic partnerships within the community.

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