Wichita, Kansas
Key People
Ron Draper
Number of Employees
Phone Number
1 (316) 517-8270


Beechcraft develops and manufactures general aviation, commercial, and military aircraft. A Textron brand since 2014, Beechcraft’s aircraft line ranges from light single-engined aircraft to military trainers, with a strong market presence in the twin-turboprop segment.

In 1932, Walter Beech founded the Beech Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. The company’s initial offering, the Model 17 Staggerwing, was first flown in November, 1932, and would go on to sell over 750 civilian-market units through its production run. In a first for the commercial aviation world, the Model 17 had a top speed of 200mph. 

As Beechcraft was founded in the years preceding the build up for the Second World War, Walter Beech quickly found his company participating in military aircraft production. The company would eventually produce more than 7,400 aircraft for the U.S. military and its allies, which included the AT-11 Kansan. Roughly 90 percent of the 45,000 USAAF bombardiers who flew in the Second World War trained on AT-11s. 

After the war, the market for civilian aircraft continued to expand. Beechcraft replaced the ageing Model 17 Staggerwing with the revolutionary Bonanza in 1947. The aircraft holds the title for longest production run in history, and is still manufactured today. 

Olive Ann Beech, Walter’s wife, assumed control of the company after Walter’s passing in 1950. Over the following three decades, Beechcraft would launch the legendary Baron (1960) and King Air (1964) aircraft, both of which remain in production. In February, 1980, the company was purchased by Raytheon, and the 1982 appointment of Linden Blue as Beechcraft’s CEO marked the end of 50 years of Beech family management. Raytheon merged Beechcraft with the Hawker product line in 1994, and the brand was renamed Hawker Beechcraft after Raytheon sold its Raytheon Aircraft brand to Goldman Sachs in 2006. 

Trials resulting from the 2008 recession and prior missteps forced then-Hawker Beechcraft to file for bankruptcy protections in 2012. Textron, parent company of long-time competitor Cessna, purchased the reconstituted Beechcraft Corp. in 2014. 

Beechcraft currently produces the King Air, Baron and Bonanza lines, with four King Air variants offering travel ranges between 1,260nm and 2,692nm. Cessna and Beechcraft constitute the Textron Aviation division.