Historic Aircraft Photo Gallery … Series K

This is the 11th in a series, which features Kansas Aviation Museum collection photo’s that recognizes many anniversaries during the year 2002, for Raytheon Aircraft. The company, founded in 1932 as Beech Aircraft Corp., celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2002. The world’s most popular single-engine, high performance piston airplane, the Beech Bonanza, marked its 55th anniversary. The famous Hawker line of business jets saw its first flight 40 years ago. And the company’s fixed-base operation, Raytheon Aircraft Services, saw its 40th anniversary.

Today Raytheon Aircraft retains the spirit and innovation of Beech Aircraft Corporation and its founders, Walter and Olive Ann Beech. Employees proudly call themselves Beechcrafters and strive for quality in every task they undertake. They recognize that customers expect a high level of service and are working hard to ensure that these expectations are met.

Raytheon Aircraft’s new business jets, the Beechcraft Premier I and the Hawker Horizon are being built using industry-leading composite materials and construction methods. Both aircraft were designed by integrated product teams representing all facets of the aircraft, engineering, manufacturing, customer support, finance and marketing, and prospective and current customers. These members determined the best way to produce an aircraft using the most advanced materials with the fewest number of parts, the most efficient production methods and with operators’ requirements in mind.

The most innovative feature of these aircraft is their composite fuselage. Through the use of automated fiber placement, the Premier I fuselage is less than one-inch thick. This allows for cabin space of 315 cubic feet and height of 65 inches – 35% larger than competitive aircraft. The fuselage is lighter, stronger and less dense than traditional metal fuselages. The epoxy resins are highly resistant to water, fuel, oil and anti-freeze and most other solvents used in the process of manufacturing aircraft. The end result is an entry-level jet that is faster than competitive jets by nearly 75 knots and has a much larger cabin for passenger comfort.

Both the Hawker Horizon and the Beechcraft Premier I have set the industry standard for advanced technology business jets, and pave the way for future accomplishments through the use of these new design and construction methods.

Beech Aircraft Corporation’s foundation of innovation, quality and customer support is alive and well today at Raytheon Aircraft.

The first of approximately 9000 Beechcraft Model 18s produced. This prototype, serial number 62, first flew January 15,1937.

Military production of Beechcraft Model 18s began in 1929. Shown here in the Beech factory during World War II, the Army Air Forces’ C-45As are temporarily using wood wheels until vendor production could catch up with the demand.

Jimmie Doolittle with the Shell Oil Company’s “400.” a Travel Air Model R. In 1930, Doolittle called it “The finest airplane that I have ever flown.” Travel Air Manufacturing Company was the predecessor company of Beechcraft.

Replacement of World War II trainers by the military resulted in the Beech Military Model T-34 “Mentor” in 1952. Flying in formation are four of the U.S. Navy versions, the T-34B.

Beech Model 28, AAF Model XA-38 “Destroyer,” nicknamed the “Grizzly,” was armed with a 75-mm cannon and two .50 cal. machine guns in the nose. Two more 50s were in each of the two remote power turrets. First flown in 1944, it was powered by two Wright R-3350 Cyclone 18 engines of 2,300 horsepower. The experimental attack aircraft had a top speed of 376 mph.

A wartime scene of a Beechcraft Model 17 “Staggerwing,” AAF Model UC-43, buzzing farm combines during the Kansas wheat harvest.

In 1961 Beech introduced the Model B55 “Baron,” a twin-engine configuration with an optional six-seat interior. It was the forerunner of today’s 58P “Baron.”

Walter Beech with Art Goebel, the pilot of this Travel Air 5000 named the “Woolaroc” by the sponsor, Frank Phillips. The Oklahoma oil magnate named the airplane for the topography found at the Phillips’ ranch south of Bartlesville. The Phillips Petroleum Company’s entry was the winner of the 1927 Dole Race from Oakland, California to Hawaii.

A Travel Air Model BW, powered by a 220 hp Wright J-4, piloted by Walter Beech with navigator Brice Goldsboro of the Pioneer Instrument Company. This specially equipped entry was the first place winner of the 1926 Ford Reliability Tour.

New for 1964 was the Beech Model 90 King Air. This turboprop-powered, seven-to-nine place corporate transport filled the gap between piston engine twins and corporate jets.

Walter Beech in front of a Beech Model 17L “Staggerwing,” serial number 15, that was delivered to Richard Archibold of Salem, Ohio in 1934. The Model 17s were built in leased space of the closed Cessna factory from 1932 until April 1934, when production was moved to the empty Travel Air factory leased from Curtiss-Wright. The factory was purchased in 1937 for $150,000.

Beech Aircraft Corporation’s entry into the post-war civil airplane market was the Model 35 Bonanza. The prototype was first flown December 22,1945 with veteran Beech test pilot Vem Carstens at the controls. Certification was granted March 25,1947. Fifteen hundred of this basic model were produced in 1947-1948. The prototype is pictured here in 1945.

The Beechcraft Premier I is the world’s first FAA-certified composite-fuselage business jet. The composite construction gives the jet 30% more cabin room than competitive aircraft.

The Hawker 800XP (left) and the new composite-fuselage Hawker Horizon are the current evolution of the famous Hawker line of aircraft.