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Aircraft Exhibits & Memorabilia

Our collection has been accumulated over many years through the donation or loan of aircraft and artifacts for the display, and enjoyment of those who visit us.

MUSEUM FEATURES

AIRCRAFT EXHIBITS

HISTORICAL  MEMORABILIA

• The 1st Beechcraft "Staggerwing"

• 1929 Travel Air Mystery Ship

• ‘Ole’ Number One 1925 Travel Air

• One of Three pre-WWII Twin Beech 18’s

• Around the World A-36 Bonanza

• Model 2000 Starship

and many more Beechcraft including :

Barons, Dukes, King Air, and a T-34.

Walter Beech Hangar

This recently renovated hangar, originally dedicated in 1975, houses the earliest models of aircraft and a display of beautifully restored factory photos demonstrating the production of the Staggerwing from beginning to end.

The first plane on display is our most treasured “Serial Number 1 Staggerwing.” This is the first aircraft built by the Beech Aircraft Corporation. Officially designated as the Beechcraft Model 17R-1, NC499N became affectionately known to pilots as the Beechcraft “Staggerwing.”

The Walter Beech Hangar proudly displays three examples of the early Travel Air: the company’s first production aircraft, “Ole Number One” a 1925 Model 1000, on loan from the EAA Air Venture Museum; a 1929 Model 4000, the model in which Louise Thaden won the 1929 Women’s Air Derby race; and a third treasure is the famous 1929 Travel Air Model R “Mystery Ship,” NR614K ~ the first of only five built and winner of the “Free for All” speed event at the 1929 Cleveland Air Races.

Displayed in an authentically restored log structure are Mrs. Louise Thaden’s 1936 Bendix trophy, her 1929 Women’s Air Derby trophy, her pilot’s license signed by Orville Wright and many other artifacts honoring her aviatrix accomplishments.

Louise Thaden Library

The recently developed Founder’s room & lobby is presently in the original log cabin honoring forty-five plus years of the museum’s and Tullahoma history. Exhibited are museum awards; unique historical displays from former Beechcraft employees, members and enthusiasts; in addition to, a half century of treasured memoirs reflected in original photographs and press releases.

Founder's Cabin & Lobby

Alton E. "Chuck" Cianchette Hangar

On display is one of only three existing pre-World War II examples of the Twin Beech Model 18D. Visitors will also find a military version of the Model 18. Several thousand other military version served throughout the world during the war.

The “Olive Ann Beech Staggerwing” a 1938 E17B is displayed without its fabric covering so visitors can appreciate the intricate design details of these fascinating aircraft. The Staggerwing was one of the first general aviation aircraft to undergo wind tunnel testing as well as, feature retractable landing gear. Mrs. Beech donated the original 1933 engineering artifacts used for this development.

The museum is proud to have on loan from the Navy National Aviation Museum a T-34C. The primary mission of this aircraft was to provide primary flight training for student pilots attached to the Chief of Naval Air Training. Another distinguishing exhibit is the first United States Army King Air, LM-1, also known as an Army U-21, named the “Ute.” This aircraft was graciously donated to the museum during Beech Party 2015 by Dynamic Aviation and the Stoltzfus family.

The present Bonanza/Baron hangar is 18,000 square feet and is under construction to double its size to 36,000 square feet. The first phase of this exhibit space was dedicated in 2004 and followed by a second phase in 2006. Among the rare aircraft in this facility are two of the oldest 1947 Bonanzas, the first Model 55 Baron built in 1960, the last Duke manufactured, and a 1/5 scale original Bonanza wind tunnel models from 1945. Also featured is a turbine-powered A-36 Bonanza, which was flown around the world on four separate occasions.

An especially unique exhibit is a one-of-a-kind actual Bonanza V-35B “cutaway.” This aircraft was displayed in the Smithsonian’s Washington D.C., Air & Space Museum after being built to highlight the details of an all-metal aircraft’s construction, the V-tail control system, and the engine details.

An example of modern aircraft construction is represented by the all-composite Beechcraft Model 2000A Starship.

Bost Hangar

Olive Ann Beech Gallery and Chapel

Adjoining the Walter Beech hangar is the Olive Ann Beech Gallery and Chapel. Following her husband’s death in 1950, Mrs. Beech became President and CEO of Beechcraft Corporation and retired in 1982 as Chairman of the Board. This delightfully restored Tennessee log cabin, contains furniture from Mrs. Beech’s corporate office and many of her original portraits. The building was dedicated in honor of Mrs. Beech in 1981 and is utilized for official museum meetings and educational seminars.

Beech Center

The Beech Center is the museum’s entrance and lobby. Currently exhibited is “Gilmore,” a striking yellow Staggerwing and “Big Red,” an icon of the museum’s history. Our museum gift shop, administrative offices and public lounging area are all located in the lovely Beech Center.