Aircraft Welding Diaries: History of Beechcraft

Knisley Welding caters to the aircraft exhaust system of some of Beech’s aircraft. Let’s take a look into the brief history of Beechcraft and how it has come about, how it has contributed to the aircraft industry, and how it is doing now.


Beechcraft’s Foundation

Beechcraft was founded in the year 1932 by the husband-and-wife tandem of Walter and Olive Ann Beech. Beechcraft first operated in an idle Cessna factory in Wichita, Kansas.

Walter Beech previously formed Travel Air in 1924. Travel Air was absorbed by Curtiss-Wright in 1929 where Beech became President of the airplane division, and Vice President for Sales. Being away from production, Beech quit Curtis-Wright and formed Beechcraft.

Notable Beech Aircrafts

The first Beechcraft aircraft built was the Model 17 Beech Staggerwing. More than 750 of these were built, and 270 of them were used by the US Air Force in World War II.

In 1942, Beech won an Army-Navy “E” award, a recognition given to companies during World War II for excellent production of war equipment. The Beechcraft Model 18 brought in a number of awards to Beech. Model 8 is still used around the world to this day.

The Beech Bonanza, arguably Beechcraft’s most popular aircraft, was first made in 1947. It is known for its V-tail. The Bonanza is best known for being the aircraft with the longest production.

Other popular Beech aircrafts are:

  • The Beechcraft King Air line

A line of twin-turboprop aircraft that was divided into two families: the King Airs (Model 90 and Model 100), and the Super King Airs (Model 200, and Model 300).

  • The Beechcraft Baron

A light, twin-engine piston aircraft.

Corporate History of Beech

Olive Ann Beech became President and Chief Executive Officer in 1950, following the death of Walter Beech.

The brand was acquired by Raytheon Company in 1980. Raytheon merged Beechcraft with Hawker when it acquired the latter from British Aerospace. The merged companies formed the Raytheon Aircraft Company.

Raytheon sold the Raytheon Aircraft Company to Goldman Sachs in 2006. It was renamed as Hawker Beechcraft. Hawker became bankrupt in May 2012. Beechcraft reemerged as Beechcraft Corporation in February 2013, concentrating on the King Air line, and the T-6 and AT-6 military planes, the Bonanza, and the Baron.

Textron purchased Beechcraft Corporation in December of 2013. Textron is also the mother company of Cessna and Bell Helicopter. In 2014, Textron formed Textron Aviation, a new venture formed from Beech and Cessna but maintained Beech, Hawker, and Cessna as separate brands.

Awards and Recognitions

Aside from the Army-Navy E award in 1942, it also was hailed as one of the elite five percent of war-contracting firms in the United States. This is for being able to hold the excellent production title for five straight years.

The brand also ranked 69th in the US corporations for World War II for military production contracts.

For more information regarding Beech aircraft, or if you are in need of aircraft exhaust systems, aircraft exhaust parts, or aircraft exhaust repairs for a Beech plane, just give Knisley Welding a call and we will give you just what you need!