WICHITA, Kan. (April 19, 2007) – Hawker Beechcraft Corporation today celebrates the 75th anniversary of Beechcraft. Walter and Olive Ann Beech formed Beech Aircraft Corporation April 19, 1932 at the old Travel Air manufacturing facilities in Wichita, Kan. Events and activities will occur throughout the year, including special Beechcraft celebrations at the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual Air Venture show in July as well as an open house in September in conjunction with the American Bonanza Society Convention at Beech Field in Wichita. Updates on events and activities, as well as history and other information will be released throughout the year and can be found at www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.
"This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the venerable Bonanza, the 75th anniversary of Beechcraft and the beginning of our new company, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. We think Walter and Olive Ann would be very proud," said Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO. "As we celebrate the past, we also look forward to writing the next book in the history of our great company."
Beechcraft began with the classic Model 17 Staggerwing. Designed for the business traveler, the airplane proved to be faster than military pursuit airplanes of the day. During World War II, the company produced the AT-7 and AT-11, derivatives of another classic, the Beechcraft Model 18 and trained almost 90 percent of all U.S. Army Air Corps bombardiers and navigators. Following the war in 1947, the company introduced the Model 35 Bonanza, an airplane whose descendants continue in production today as the Beechcraft Bonanza G36.
From the very beginning, Beechcraft airplanes were modified for military and special-mission use. Quality manufacturing, rugged designs and superior performance met the needs of militaries and governments around the world.
Throughout the years, Beechcraft added and developed product lines into what is today one of the broadest product lines of any manufacturer. Pioneering use of technology, such as composite materials for fuselage construction, has kept the company at the forefront of general aviation manufacturing for 75 years. With over 45,000 aircraft manufactured and over 36,000 still flying, the Beechcraft story is an enduring legacy that is only beginning. Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is taking the best of two of the strongest brands in aviation and growing them into a company writing the next 75 years of history.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is the world's leading business, special-mission and trainer aircraft manufacturer – designing, marketing and supporting aviation products and services for businesses, governments and individuals worldwide. The company's headquarters and major facilities are located in Wichita, Kan., with operations in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Chester, England, U.K. The company leads the industry with a global network of over 100 factory-owned and authorized service centers.
Hawker Beechcraft History
• Beech Aircraft Corporation is founded in 1932 by Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech.
• The first Beechcraft produced is the Model 17 — the classic Beechcraft "Staggerwing." Designed especially for the business traveler, the airplane proves to be faster than military pursuit airplanes of the day and wins numerous air races.
• In 1937, Beech introduces the Model 18 "Twin Beech." This airplane is to business what the DC-3 is to the airlines. Produced until 1970, the 33 years of continuous Model 18 production was a record until surpassed by the Beechcraft Bonanza.