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People - Notable Kansans - Beech, Walter Herschel, 1891-1950

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Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35

Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35
Date: 1947
A photograph of a Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35 airplane in flight. Aviation pioneers Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech founded the Beech Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas, in 1932.


Laird Limousine after conversion to single engine configuration

Laird Limousine after conversion to single engine configuration
Date: 1921
This photograph shows a Laird Limousine that was converted from a two-engine airplane to a single-engine airplane. The pilot of the limousine is Walter H. Beech, who later went on to work with the Travel Air Company and the Curtiss-Wright Aviation Company before founding the Beech Aircraft Company along with his wife Olive.


Official War Department descriptions of various military types of Beechcraft

Official War Department descriptions of various military types of Beechcraft
Creator: Beech Aircraft Corporation
Date: September 29, 1944
This pamphlet published by the Beech Aircraft Corporation describes the various models the company produced during World War II for military use. During the conflict Beechcraft airplanes served as the primary trainers for thousands of U.S. Army Air Force and U.S. Navy personnel.


Travel Air Company new plant and plane

Travel Air Company new plant and plane
Date: 1927
This article from The Wichita magazine covers the construction of a new airplane and a new airplane factory by the Travel Air company of Wichita. Travel Air was formed in 1924 by Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, and Clyde Cessna. Despite great success during the 1920s the company eventually closed its doors during the Great Depression due to dwindling aircraft orders.


Travel Air Model 2000

Travel Air Model 2000
Date: 1925
These two photographs show the Travel Air Company's Model 2000 biplane. Powered by air-cooled Wright Whirlwind J-5 engines, many Model 2000s were used as training planes as late as 1942.


Walter Herschel Beech

Walter Herschel Beech
Date: 1926
Walter H. Beech (L), pilot and President of Beech Aircraft Corporation, and Brice H. Goldsborough, of the Pioneer Instrument Corp. and navigator, standing by a Travel Air built by Beech. They demonstrated the practicability of "blind flight" and won the 1926 Ford Reliability Tour.


Walter Herschel Beech and Olive Ann Beech

Walter Herschel Beech and Olive Ann Beech
Date: Between 1940 and 1945
Walter Herschel Beech, 1891-1950, and Olive Ann Beech, 1903-1993, viewing World War II aircraft production lines at the Beechcraft Plant I in Wichita, Kansas.


Wichita's golden air age began 50 years ago in Swallow biplane

Wichita's golden air age began 50 years ago in Swallow biplane
Creator: Wichita Eagle
Date: May 1, 1970
This article published in the Wichita Eagle covers the history of the Swallow Aircraft Manufacturing Company and its founder, Emil Matthew Laird. The article also details Laird's first flight in a Swallow biplane, the contributions of Swallow employees Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman, and the overall contributions of Wichita to the American aviation industry.


Wichita - "The air capital of America" location, terrain and weather make city aviation center

Wichita - "The air capital of America" location, terrain and weather make city aviation center
Creator: Wichita [magazine]
This article, published in the August 1927 edition of The Wichita, covers Wichita's status as the air capital of America, as well as the many manufacturers that helped give the city such a distinction. In addition, the piece covers the achievements of the Laird Swallow factory, the fact that the city has six significant airplane factories, the achievements of the Travel Air Company, and the history and work of Clyde Cessna.


Wichitan pioneer in development of airplane industry

Wichitan pioneer in development of airplane industry
Creator: Wichita Eagle
Date: April 25, 1943
This article from the Wichita Eagle details the achievements of Walter and Olive Beech. Beech's life in the aviation industry began in 1922 when he joined the Swallow Airplane Manufacturing Company. The article also addresses the role of Beech's wife, Olive, and her contribution to the success of the Beech Aircraft Company.


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