Tornado and Bankruptcy point Beechcraft on the Right Heading

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ARTICLE: Restructured Beechcraft leaner, more efficient

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The Staggerwing, Bonanza, Twin Bonanza, Baron, King Air and Starship are all iconic aircraft (although not all financial successes) developed by this 81 year old Wichita, KS manufacturer. This proud heritage was at risk as the company entered the potentially fatal bankruptcy process. Having joined forces with the equally historic British OEM of GA aircraft, Hawker, the new venture ascended into the jet business; those risks, bad economies and a number of other factors grounded Hawker Beechcraft.

While the legal proceeding pared the range of products offered to a leaner approach, a potentially devastating EF3 tornado helped redesign the manufacturing plant. That disaster allowed management to redesign the shops and did so through consultation with the people working on the floor.

That bad luck/good luck event allowed Beechcraft to continue its production line and to deliver in 2013 95 King Airs, Bonanzas and Barons, compared to 45 in the first half of 2012. In such difficult financial times, so many sales evidenced that the right sizing to an all turbo prop offering was right for the market.

The ability to perform during such adversity must have impressed Wheels Up, an all turbo prop version of Net Jets, who bought 105 King Air 350i aircraft, including 35 firm orders with options for 70 more. That was the largest order of GA propeller aircraft in history.

Good to have this venerable aviation institution back flying!

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