Blog : Historical Feature

“The Last Staggerwing”

“The Last Staggerwing”

In 1946 the realities of a postwar commercial airplane market forced Walter H. Beech to abandon a Beechcraft from the past in favor of a Beechcraft of the future. The Beechcraft Model 17 was more than a flying machine; it was legendary. From the moment it first took flight, the airplane endured the test of…

Cessna’s Last Stand – Part Three

Cessna’s Last Stand – Part Three

As the United States plunged deeper and deeper into economic depression during 1930, the Cessna Aircraft Company designed gliders and small, lightweight aircraft in a last-ditch effort to generate revenue. America’s love affair with “Flying Fever” went into an inverted flat spin after the collapse of Wall Street that began in October 1929 and continued…

Monoplanes Cessna – Part Two

Monoplanes Cessna – Part Two

By early 1928, Clyde V. Cessna was building and selling cabin monoplanes of  his own design. Less than two years later the debacle on Wall Street would clip Cessna’s wings, just when financial success was within his grasp. The year 1928 would prove to be an undreamed-of boon to the airplane manufacturers from coast to…

“Monoplanes Cessna” Part 1

“Monoplanes Cessna” Part 1

In 1927, more than 11 years after he completed the first airplane built in Wichita, Clyde V. Cessna unveiled the Phantom cabin monoplane – a landmark design that paved the way for creation of the Cessna-Roos Aircraft Company. As the cold winter winds of 1926 blew into Wichita, Kansas, Clyde Cessna was entering his second…

The Hollywood Travel Air

The Hollywood Travel Air

In 1928 Tinseltown’s Wallace Beery paid Walter H. Beech $18,500 cash for a custom-built Travel Air Type A6000A cabin monoplane that, in terms of luxury, performance and quality, foreshadowed the Beechcraft King Air that flew 36 years later. On a typical business day late in 1927, Walter H. Beech, president of the Travel Air Manufacturing…

Wichita’s Air Racing Legacy, Part 2

Wichita’s Air Racing Legacy, Part 2

Clyde V. Cessna once said, “Speed is the only reason for flying,” and from 1928-1932 Wichita’s grand patriarch of aviation backed up that claim by competing in air races that propelled the Cessna Aircraft Company to new heights of success. On September 5, 1928, 47 pilots prepared to depart Long Island’s Roosevelt Field on the…

Wichita’s Air Racing Legacy

Wichita’s Air Racing Legacy

Part One – Walter Beech is remembered as one of Wichita’s greatest aviation patriarchs, an aviation titan who not only put his name on the best airplanes money could buy, but also was driven by a never-ending quest for speed. Wichita pilot Walter H. Beech sat in the cockpit of the Travel Air Special, patiently…

Cabin Jobs

Cabin Jobs

During the 1920s, airframe manufacturers in Wichita, Kansas, produced a series of airplanes that signaled the gradual demise of open cockpit flying in favor of a comfortable, enclosed cabin. In February 1921, the indefatigable Jacob M. Moellendick announced to the Wichita newspapers that the Wichita Laird Airplane Corporation was planning to launch an air service…

Beechcraft’s First Light Twin

Beechcraft’s First Light Twin

Impressed by the success of Piper’s PA-23 Apache and Cessna’s Model 310, in 1956 Beech Aircraft Corporation entered the emerging light twin-engine market with its Model 95 Travel Air. In postwar America, general aviation’s “Golden Age” was born in the late 1940s and by the early 1950s was maturing rapidly, attracting thousands of would-be aviators…

Muscle Beech – the Mighty Turbo Barons

Muscle Beech – the Mighty Turbo Barons

Despite being manufactured in small numbers, the Model 56TC and A56TC were the most powerful Barons built and helped pave the way for development and production of the distinctive Model 60 Duke. The decade of the 1950s and 1960s had been good to Beech Aircraft Corporation, and the company’s executive vice president, Frank E. Hedrick,…