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Sat, Apr 24, 2004

Staggerwing Foundation to Open Bonanza-Baron Museum

The Staggerwing Museum Foundation is expanding its range of Beechcraft product displays with the groundbreaking of a new Bonanza-Baron Museum. The planned 86,400-square-foot facility will be built in stages, with a 9,000-square-foot hangar completed in 2004 as the first phase. The museum will be located on a 2 ½-acre site adjacent to the Olive Ann Beech Chapel and the existing Staggerwing Museum. It will operate as a division of the Staggerwing Museum Foundation.

“The Beechcraft Bonanza is the longest continually produced aircraft in the world,” said Harold Bost, whose leadership started the museum and who will serve as the Division President. “Our ultimate objective is to eventually preserve one of every airframe representing every model Bonanza, Debonair, Baron, Travel Air, Twin Bonanza and T-34, plus special achievement airplanes such as the Powder Puff Derby Bonanza, the Waikiki Bonanza and an ‘around the world’ Bonanza.”

The Staggerwing Foundation’s growing aircraft collection currently includes Serial No. 1 Beech Staggerwing, Serial No. 1 Travel Air 1000, and the extremely rare Travel Air Model R “Mystery Ship,” a racing aircraft that won the 1929 National Air Races. The latter two aircraft were produced in the 1920s during Walter Beech’s tenure as president of the Travel Air Company, prior to his formation of the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1932.

In addition, the Staggerwing Museum recently took possession of a Beech Starship, Serial No. 49, donated by Raytheon Aircraft.

A recently completed building expansion is now home to a growing number of Beech Model 18 aircraft that includes the 11th Model 18 built – one of only three existing pre-WWII Model 18s. The Bonanza-Baron Museum will round out the foundation’s Beechcraft displays.

“We believe that many owners of these Beechcraft products would like to see their airplanes preserved and will donate or loan-lease them to the museum once they no longer have need for them,” said Mike Greenblatt, President of the Staggerwing Museum Foundation.

John Parish, chairman of the Staggerwing Museum Foundation and who donated the land for the Bonanza-Baron Museum, added: “This is especially attractive since donations to the museum are tax deductible. Already, three owners have expressed an interest in donating their airplanes to the museum.”



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