Beechcraft

BE18
Twin Beech

BE35
Bonanza

BE36
Bonanza

BE55
Baron

BE300
Super King Air

BE2000
Starship

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AT-10
Wichita

AT-11
Kansas

C-12
Huron

C-45
Expeditor

GB
Traveller

JRB
Expeditor

QU22
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T-1
Jayhawk

T-6
Texan II

T-34
Mentor

T-44
Pegasus

U-21
Ute

UC-43
Traveller

VC-6
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Beechcraft is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light single engine aircraft to business jets and light military transports. Previously a division of Raytheon, it has been a brand of Hawker Beechcraft since 2006.

Beechcraft was founded in Wichita, Kansas in 1932 by Walter H. Beech and his wife Olive Ann Mellor Beech. The company began operations in an idle Cessna factory. With designer Ted Wells, they developed the first aircraft under the Beechcraft name, the classic Model 17 Staggerwing, which first flew in November 1932. Over 750 Staggerwings were built, with 270 manufactured for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

Beechcraft was not Beech's first company, as he had previously formed Travel Air in 1924 and the design numbers used at Beechcraft followed the sequence started at Travel Air, and were then continued at Curtiss-Wright, after Travel Air had been absorbed into the much larger company in 1929. Beech became President of the Curtiss-Wright's airplane division and VP of sales, but became dissatisfied with being so far removed from aircraft production and quit to form Beechcraft, using the original Travel Air facilities and employing many of the same people. Model numbers prior to 11/11000 were built under the Travel Air name, while Curtiss-Wright built the CW-12, 14, 15 and 16 as well as previous successful Travel Air models (mostly the model 4).

In 1942 Beech won its first Army-Navy ‘E’ Award production award and became one of the elite five percent of war contracting firms in the country to win five straight awards for production efficiency, mostly for the production of the Beechcraft 18 which remains in widespread use worldwide.

*The First Lady of Aviation

Olive Ann Beech and her husband Walter established the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1932. He was president and she was secretary-treasurer. During World War II, Mrs. Beech temporarily headed the company while her husband was ill, helping prepare the military versions of the Beech 18. When Walter died in 1950, Olive Ann Beech was chairman of the board and president of the corporation. Under her leadership, Beech made aircraft, missile targets, aircraft components, and cryogenic fluid systems for the nation's space programs. Olive Ann Beech, named "The First Lady of Aviation," was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1981.  

After the war, the Staggerwing was replaced by the revolutionary Beechcraft Bonanza with a distinctive V-tail. Perhaps the best known Beech aircraft, the single-engine Bonanza has been manufactured in various models since 1947.  The Bonanza has had the longest production run of any airplane, past or present, in the world. Other important Beech planes are the King Air/Super King Air line of twin-engine turboprops, in production since 1964, the Baron, a twin-engine variant of the Bonanza, and the Beechcraft Model 18, originally a business transport and commuter airliner from the late 1930s through the 1960s, which remains in active service as a cargo transport.

In 1994, Raytheon merged Beechcraft with the Hawker product line it had acquired in 1993 from British Aerospace, forming Raytheon Aircraft Company. In 2002, the Beechcraft brand was revived to again designate the Wichita-produced aircraft. Randy Groom, now President of Groom Aviation LLC, was President from 2003 to 2007, when Raytheon sold Raytheon Aircraft to Hawker Beechcraft. Since its inception Beechcraft has resided in Wichita, Kansas, also the home of chief competitor Cessna, the birthplace of Learjet and of Stearman, whose trainers were used in large numbers during WW2.

Products

Civilian aircraft

  • Model 16 Single-engine, all-metal training aircraft. Designed and flight tested in Liberal, KS in 1970. The wings and tail section were two feet shorter than the Model 19. It had a Lycoming O-235 engine rated at 125 hp (93 kW). Only one was ever built because Mrs. Beech did not like the aircraft.
  • Model 17 Staggerwing Single-radial-engine fabric-covered biplane utility aircraft, tailwheel landing gear
  • Model 18 Twin Beech Two-radial-engine all-metal utility aircraft, tailwheel landing gear
  • Model 19 Sport Single-engine, all metal training aircraft, tricycle landing gear
  • Model 23 Musketeer and Sundowner Single-engine all-metal training aircraft, nosewheel landing gear
  • Model 24 Sierra Development of the Musketeer
  • Model 34 Twin-Quad Prototype small airliner; the largest aircraft ever built by Beechcraft
  • Model 33 Debonair Development of the Bonanza, with conventional empennage
  • Model 35 Bonanza Single-engine utility aircraft, nosewheel landing gear, V-tail
  • Model 36 Bonanza Single-engine utility aircraft, nosewheel landing gear, conventional tail
  • Beechcraft Model 40 A Twin engined Bonanza, only one produced unique "over-under" arrangement of engines
  • Model 50 Twin Bonanza Two-engine utility aircraft; despite its name was not a development of the Bonanza
  • Models 55, 56 and 58 Baron Two-engine high-performance utility aircraft; derived from the Model 95 Travel Air, Model 58 with fuselage derived from the Model 36 Bonanza
  • Model 60 Duke Two-engine high-performance utility aircraft
  • Models 65, 70, 80 and 88 Queen Air Two-engine transport aircraft; derived from the Model 50 Twin Bonanza
  • Model 76 Duchess Two-engine development of the Musketeer
  • Model 77 Skipper Single-engine two-seat primary trainer with fixed nosewheel landing gear
  • Models 90 and 100 King Air Two-turboprop-engine transport aircraft, developed from the Queen Air
  • Models 200 and 300 (Super) King Air. Development of the King Air
  • Model 95 Travel Air Two-engine development of the Model 33 Bonanza
  • Model 99 Airliner Two-turboprop-engine small airliner; derived from the Queen Air
  • Model 390 Premier Two-turbofan-engine utility aircraft (Entry Level Jet)
  • Model 400 Beechjet Two-turbofan-engine utility aircraft, originally designed and manufactured by Mitsubishi
  • Model 1900 Airliner Two-turboprop-engine airliner development of Model 200 Super King Air
  • Model 2000 Starship Two-turboprop-engine utility aircraft with canard configuration and pusher propellers.

Military aircraft

  • AT-7 Navigator/C-45/UC-45/CT-128 Expeditor Model 18s built for the Military with minor modifications.
  • AT-10 Wichita Twin engined trainer built primarily of wood.
  • AT-11 Kansan Military derivative of the Model 18 fitted for training bombardiers and gunners
  • Beechcraft Model 73 Jet Mentor Prototype for two seat tandem jet trainer.
  • C-6/VC-6 Ute/U-21 Ute/T-44 Pegasus Off the shelf King Air.
  • C-12 Huron/RC-12 Guardrail/CT-145 Super King Air Super King Air for US and Canadian militaries.
  • CT-134 Musketeer Canadian military derivatives of the Musketeer/Sundowner series.
  • GB Traveller Model 17 Staggerwing used by the U. S. Navy as an executive transport.
  • T-1A Jayhawk Military version of Model 400 used as a trainer for pilots of large aircraft in the US military.
  • T-6 Texan II/CT-156 Harvard II redesigned Pilatus PC-9 turboprop two-seat trainer for JPATS competition.
  • T-34 Mentor & T-34C Turbine Mentor Single engined two-seat trainer loosely derived from straight tail Bonanza.
  • T-42 Cochise Off the shelf Baron.
  • U-8F (or later) Seminole Military version of Queen Air.
  • U-8A through U-8E Seminole Off the shelf Twin Bonanza.
  • UC-43 Traveler Earliest and impressed examples were stock, others had minor alterations to meet Military specifications.
  • QU-22 Modified Model 36 Bonanza for the Pave Eagle II program.
  • XA-38 Grizzly Prototype 1944 twin engined attack aircraft.

Other products

  • Beechcraft Plainsman Post-World War II automobile that reached the prototype stage before being cancelled

  • AQM-37 Jayhawk Air-launched target drone aircraft with single rocket engine

  • MQM-61A Cardinal Drone aircraft with single horizontally opposed two-stroke piston engine and propeller

Source: Wikipedia

*Source: Seattle Museum of Flight