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Beechcraft: A History

Beechcraft logo

Manufactured in the aviation hub of Wichita, Kan., and with maintenance and support locations worldwide, the BEECHCRAFT brand of aircraft traces its roots to the pioneers of aviation. Throughout its history, this brand of products has been known for quality, reliability and value that established benchmarks for the industry.



Walter Beech

In 1932, Walter H. Beech left an executive position with Curtiss-Wright Corporation to start designing and manufacturing airplanes in Wichita, Kan., with his wife and business partner, Olive Ann Beech. While many warned that there was no market for a cabin biplane with a luxurious interior in the midst of the Great Depression, the two visionaries forged ahead with their plans to build the “finest aircraft in the world” and changed the course of general aviation.

Walter and Olive Ann in the factory.

It started with the 200 miles-per-hour Beechcraft Model 17 biplane known as the Staggerwing, hundreds of which were sold to both civilians and the United States military and made the Beechs’ vision come to life. Their philosophy was one of quality, advanced technology, customer satisfaction and business integrity: a philosophy maintained to this day.

The team created several other notable aircraft before Walter’s death in 1950, including the Beechcraft BONANZA piston which is the the longest continually produced aircraft in the world. Walter’s death didn’t stop the company, however, as Olive Ann became president and CEO until the Raytheon Company purchased it in 1980.

Bonanza outside hangar.

Throughout much of the mid-to-late 20th century, Beechcraft was considered one of the "Big Three" in the field of general aviation manufacturing, producing products that established benchmarks for the industry. Years would come with other mergers and company names, but the name Beechcraft never lost its value, growing even stronger after Textron purchased the company and it merged with one of the largest competitors in aviation, Cessna Aircraft Company.

The Beechcraft brand is known for its timeless piston products and renowned KING AIR line of turboprops. The Beechcraft brand is established in the market as a brand which masters rugged, robust aircraft backed by unmatched customer loyalty. The legacy of the large, red Beechcraft “B” remains to this day and is a mark of excellence in the versatile world of capable aircraft.



Beechcraft B on tail of aircraft.

Beechcraft remains a brand with one of the richest legacies in private aviation. Its products range from capable, intentional defense and special missions products, including air ambulance, surveillance, to options for owner/operators and companies seeking a workhorse of an aircraft. Depending on the mission, Beechcraft planes have options for customers seeking specialized aviation solutions and often find the owners who need to access remote areas or unimproved runways.

This unique brand of aircraft produced allows you to take off and land on water, access unimproved and short runways, adventure across otherwise inaccessible areas, relax in high-end and comfortable interiors and achieve new goals in business and leisure. If you see yourself as a rugged, dependable, versatile pilot or company, the Beechcraft brand should be the first place you go to seek your bespoke aircraft solution.




King Air 360

With updates to the airframe, avionics and interior, the Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprop represents a significant upgrade to one of the sky’s most iconic aircraft. Additional features and benefits include an enhanced digital pressurization system, Onboard Maintenance System updates, a full regime autothrottle system, and six new interior schemes. This iteration in the best-selling King Air turboprop family is designed for comfort and built for adventure.

Cabin improvements bring increased comfort and elegance to the King Air 360 turboprop. Most notable is a lower cabin altitude resulting from higher cabin pressure. This model also features contemporary design cues found in luxury SUVs, plus reshaped cabinetry, resculpted sidewalls with pinhole lighting, upgraded seat design, illuminated cupholders and low-profile air/light adjusters.


King Air 260

The most popular business turboprop in the world just got even better. The Beechcraft King Air 260 turboprop now provides a reduced pilot workload with digital pressurization and the advanced Innovative Solutions & Support THRUSTSENSE Autothrottle system. This versatile aircraft continues to provide the cutting-edge touchscreen avionics technology and greater passenger comfort that you’ve come to expect from the King Air turboprop family.

The King Air 260 turboprop carries the versatility and reliability that the King Air turboprop family is known for, while delivering people where they need to go in unprecedented comfort. This allows you the flexibility to explore new horizons.


Sometimes segments of the aircraft market grow stagnant and become ripe for disruption. Enter the Beechcraft DENALI single-engine turboprop, a brand-new high-performance aircraft that changes everything. Designed with more performance, more versatility, lower operating costs, smarter cabin space and a superior service network, the Beechcraft Denali turboprop is rising above the competition

The GE AVIATION CATALYST powerplant features a dual channel FADEC and propeller control which provides easy jet-like power control in the flight deck as well as unrivalled operating efficiencies and engine protection.

Interior configurations include a 6-seat executive interior complete with a refreshment center or a 9-seat commuter configuration. The Beechcraft Denali aircraft has the jet-inspired cabin to meet your every need.




The Beechcraft Bonanza G36 aircraft is the aspiration of any pilot who desires unmatched craftsmanship. This piston-engine powerhouse is certified in the rugged utility category. With first-class technology and comfort and world-class quality, your Bonanza G36 aircraft is ready for any adventure.

The Bonanza piston can carry four passengers 750 miles and has a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 miles per hour.



The Beechcraft BARON G58 aircraft is the perfect balance of horsepower combined with peace-of-mind, twin-engine redundancy. With seating for six, large cargo doors and two baggage compartments, the Baron G58 piston offers great flexibility for both business and pleasure.

Setting the standard in twin-engine aircraft design, the high-performance Beechcraft Baron aircraft has long been associated with precision craftsmanship that appeals to both pilots and passengers alike.


Read Next: King Air: A History