A Beech Starship has joined the world’s most famous flying boat and the “world’s fastest aircraft” on exhibit in an Oregon museum, thanks to a donation by Raytheon Aircraft. The three aircraft are among those displayed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. The Starship joins Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, an SR-71 Blackbird and more than 50 other historic airplanes and helicopters at the nearly three-year-old museum.
This is the fourth museum donation for the few Starships not intentionally destroyed by Raytheon Aircraft. The company last year decided to buy back the approximately 10 Starships of the 50 produced that it didn’t already own and destroy most of them because the task of supporting the fleet had become “cost prohibitive,” said Raytheon Aircraft at the time (AIN, July 2003, page 1).
Earlier donations of Starships went to the Kansas Aviation Museum in Wichita, the Staggerwing Museum in Tullahoma, Tenn., and the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, Ala. “We are working on approximately three more museum donations, after which we will be done,” a company spokes-man told AIN.
The Starship–the first all-composite turbine aircraft certified by the FAA to go into production–paved the way for Raytheon Aircraft’s new business jets, the Beechcraft Premier I and Hawker Horizon. (In 1969, the FAA certified the first all-composite aircraft, the Windecker Eagle piston single.)
Since opening its doors on June 6, 2001, the Evergreen Aviation Museum surpassed its 500,000th visitor last year.