Walter H. Beech

Walter H. Beech

(1891-1950) Enshrined November 12, 2005

An aviation pioneer, Walter Beech was born in Pulaski, Tennessee. He began his legendary career in aviation by building a glider age 14. Walter Beech became a U.S. Army Aviator in 1917 and later joined the Swallow Airplane Company where he became a test pilot and later, General Manager. Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman (all of whom became aviation legends) co-founded the Travel Air Aircraft Company in 1924. The company became the world’s largest producer of monoplane and biplane commercial aircraft and earned international acclaim by establishing numerous performance records. Travel Air Aircraft subsequently merged with the Curtiss-Wright Aircraft Company and Walter Beech became its President. In 1932, Walter and his wife Olive Ann founded Beech Aircraft Corporation. Beech airplanes set numerous speed and distance records and the famous Beech Staggerwing won the prestigious Bendix Air Race. During World War II, Beech Aircraft turned its entire production to defense, producing more than 7,400 military aircraft. The Twin-Beech AT-71C-45 was used to train most of the U.S. Army Air Force navigator/bombardier’s and over half of the multi-engine pilots. Now a part of the Raytheon Corporation, Beech Aircraft became and remains a world-renowned corporate and personal aircraft manufacturer. The extraordinary history of Beech Airplanes is preserved and on display in Tullahoma, Tennessee at the Staggerwing Museum Foundation located on the Parish Aerodrome. Walter Beech was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1977.

To learn more, visit: www.tnairmuseum.com