Wichita is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Kansas, and the county seat of Sedgwick County. The 2006 estimated population of 361,420 makes it the 51st largest city in the U.S. Wichita is located in south central Kansas on the Arkansas River.
Wichita was incorporated in 1870, based on the success of businessmen who came to hunt and trade with native populations. Its position on the Chisholm Trail made it a destination for cattle drives headed north to access railroads to eastern markets. In the 20th century, aircraft pioneers such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech began projects that would lead to Wichita's establishment as the "Air Capital of the World". The aircraft corporations Stearman, Cessna, Mooney and Beech were all founded in Wichita in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft remain based in Wichita today, along with Learjet and Spirit AeroSystems, and both Airbus and Boeing maintain a workforce in Wichita.
Wichita has also evolved into a cultural and entertainment center. The vital downtown district offers nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and parks. A 15,000 seat arena in the middle of Wichita is under construction with completion slated January 2010. Several universities are in Wichita, the largest being Wichita State University with an enrollment of 15,000 students.
In July 2006, CNN/Money and Money magazine ranked Wichita 9th on its list of the 10 best U.S. big cities in which to live. In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked Wichita 1st on its list of best affordable cities.