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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® is a brand crafted to inspire and elevate you. With a premium portfolio of legendary aircraft, Beechcraft® is built for individuals who appreciate the unique joy of navigating the sky. Beechcraft® products offer capable, multi-faceted defense and special mission solutions including air ambulance and surveillance, while also satisfying owners, operators and companies seeking a workhorse of an aircraft.

Beechcraft turboprops and pistons have taken customers to the farthest reaches of the world. A Beechcraft® aircraft allows you to access unimproved and short runways, relax in high-end and comfortable interiors and achieve new goals in business and leisure. For the bold, rugged, versatile pilot or company, the Beechcraft® brand is your bespoke aircraft solution.






King Air 360

With updates to the airframe, avionics and interior, the Beechcraft® King Air® 360 turboprop represents the latest 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, six new interior schemes and CoolView® windows. The latest iteration in the best-selling King Air® family of aircraft 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. The latest 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 sports an entirely redesigned cabin, complete with reshaped cabinetry, resculpted sidewalls, new seat design and CoolView® windows. The aircraft also 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 even 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® family is known for, while delivering people where they need to go in unprecedented comfort. This allows you the flexibility to explore new horizons.


The Beechcraft® Denali® turboprop is a breath of fresh air; it's a brand-new, high-performance, single-engine turboprop 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 the culmination of 90 years of innovation.

Interior configuration includes a six-seat executive interior complete with a refreshment center or a nine-seat commuter configuration. The Beechcraft® Denali® aircraft has the jet-inspired cabin to meet your every need.

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

The cockpit features Garmin® Emergency Autoland, the Garmin® G3000 advanced flight deck with touchscreen controls, Garmin® integrated autothrottle, Synthetic Vision Technology and more.



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
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