Editor's note: Authorities said that Wednesday afternoon that four people who were originally thought to be missing after the plane crash in Wichita, Kan., may actually have been the same four people who were confirmed dead earlier in the day. - Jillian
Wichita /ˈwɪtʃɨtɔː/ WICH-ə-taw is the largest city in the State of Kansas and the 49th-largest city in the United States. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was 382,368; as of 2013, it was estimated to have increased to 386,552. In 2013, the estimated population of the Wichita metropolitan area was 637,394, and that of the larger Wichita-Winfield combined statistical area was 673,598.
The city began as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail in the 1860s, then was incorporated in 1870. It subsequently became a key destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas to access railroads, earning it the nickname "Cowtown". In the 1920s and 1930s, businessmen and aeronautical engineers established a number of successful aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita including Beechcraft, Cessna, and Stearman Aircraft. The city transformed into a hub of U.S. aircraft production and became known as "The Air Capital of the World". Beechcraft, Cessna, (both now part of Textron Aviation) and other firms including Learjet, Airbus, and Spirit AeroSystems continue to operate design and manufacturing facilities in Wichita today, and the city remains a major center of the U.S. aircraft industry.
As an industrial hub and the largest city in the state, Wichita is an area center of culture, media, and trade. It hosts several large museums, theatres, parks, and entertainment venues, notably Intrust Bank Arena. Several universities are located in the city including Wichita State University, the third largest in the state. The city's daily newspaper, The Wichita Eagle, has the highest circulation of any newspaper in Kansas, and the Wichita broadcast television market includes the western two-thirds of the state. Wichita is also home to two large shopping centers, Towne East Square and Towne West Square, as well as the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center and Kansas's largest airport, Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.