Every October, there’s a Beech Party in Middle Tennessee! Come help celebrate native Tennessean Walter Beech’s remark- able contribution to aviation history and aircraft manufacturing by attending Beech Party on October 13 through 16, 2021.
Wave after wave of iconic airplanes can be seen and heard as they fly in to Tul- lahoma Airport for this annual gathering. They’ll be tied down on the field adjacent to the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, forming row after row of splendid living history, ranging from iconic Golden Age Staggerwing biplanes and twin-engine Beech 18s to sleek Bonanzas, corporate King Airs, and rare turboprop Starships.
In recent years, there have been well over 100 aircraft which have flown to Beech Party from as far away as Cali- fornia and Canada. Many of these air- planes have been carefully restored, and are beautiful representatives of the vari- ous Beechcraft models. This year marks the 80th anniversary of Beech’s World War II AT-11 and AT-10 Trainers, and the theme is “Celebrating America!” Ad- ditionally, the Duck River Model A Era Car Club of Tennessee complements the vintage aircraft flight line with its eye-catching lineup of antique cars.
Walter Beech was born in 1891 on a farm near Pulaski, Tennessee. He started flying in his early 20s, and was especial- ly drawn to air racing and barnstorming in those early days. Beech continually achieved new heights in aviation, particularly in the business of designing and producing fast airplanes.
After Beech married Olive Ann Mel- lor, the intrepid young couple established their fledgling aircraft company in Wich- ita, Kansas, in the early 1930s. They were determined to build a better biplane, and they succeeded. It was a robust-yet-ele- gant design that could cruise 200 mph. The wings had a distinctive negative stagger, hence the name: Staggerwing. From then on, numerous models of air- craft were designed and built by Beech; Beechcraft is still being manufactured in Wichita by Textron Aviation.
The Beechcraft Heritage Museum was first established in a turn-of-the-century, two-room log cabin at Tullahoma in 1973. Since then, the facility has evolved into a 78,000 square foot, climate controlled, world-class aviation museum. Among the 38 aircraft on display are a Staggerwing without its fabric covering, which provides an amazing view of its intricate wood and steel tube construction, and a steel frame cutaway Bonanza.
The Museum is open year round, so even if your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend Beech Party, you can still see a wide variety of Beechcraft and discover intriguing infor- mation about Walter and Olive Ann Beech, as well as the famous designers and pilots who made Beech airplanes popular.
“You don’t have to be a pilot to enjoy this rich historical education in aviation. Our exhibits include Smithsonian-qual- ity aircraft and artifacts,” said Jody Cur- tis, Executive Vice President, adding, “the museum is situated on a picturesque cam- pus adjacent to the Tullahoma Regional Airport. We’re open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for seniors 65+ and youth ages 12-17; children under 11 are free. Beech Party admission rates include flight line access, museum tours, and seminars conducted by renowned
speakers for a daily rate of $50 with dis- counts for Museum Members ($40/day) and Aviation Affiliates ($45/day).” -GN For more information, please visit beechcrafthm.org, or call (931) 455-1974, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Museum is located at 570 Old Shelbyville Highway in Tullahoma.