Hawker Beechcraft celebrates 80 years


Company has delivered aircraft since 1932

Hawker Beechcraft celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Since its founding in 1932, the company has produced many business, civil and military aircraft in the world.

Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas and with maintenance and manufacturing locations worldwide, the company traces its roots to the pioneers of aviation and throughout its history has generated products of quality, safety and value that established benchmarks for the industry.

“As we recognize this special anniversary and celebrate our proud past, we look forward to more milestones to come as we carry on Hawker Beechcraft’s legacy of innovation in the aviation industry,” said Steve Miller, chief executive officer, Hawker Beechcraft.

Hawker Beechcraft’s 80th anniversary is being celebrated in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Hawker 125 series – represented today as the Hawker 900XP. The Hawker 125 series is the world’s best-selling midsize business jet series.

“Hawker Beechcraft changed the course of general aviation,” added Bill Boisture, chairman, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. “Its proud history has included the delivery of more than 54,000 aircraft to customers around the world, and its heritage of leading edge technology and performance will continue to be an integral part of its future.” 

In 1932, Walter H. Beech left an executive position with Curtiss-Wright Corporation to start designing and manufacturing airplanes in Wichita, 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.

Their philosophy was one of quality, advanced technology, customer satisfaction and business integrity: a philosophy the company continues to hold today as it has throughout the years.

While Beechcraft’s company history spans 80 years, its innovative history can be traced as far back as 1920, when test pilot and designer Harry Hawker and three others bought the assets of the Sopwith Aviation Company and formed H.G. Hawker Engineering. This company would go on to create some of the most technologically advanced and industry-leading products in aviation and later became a part of the Hawker Beechcraft product line in the mid-1990s.

From the company’s first product, the 200 miles-per-hour Beechcraft Model 17 biplane known as the Staggerwing, to its latest aircraft, the Hawker 4000 super-midsize business jet featuring advanced composite material, the Hawker and Beechcraft brands have revolutionized the aviation industry for 80 years.

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