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Beech Party draws young and young-at-heart with STOL and warbird workshops

The Beechcraft Heritage Museum’s annual Beech Party was “done right,” according to event attendees.

Young aviators Madison Murray and Christian Campbell flew a borrowed Beech 18 from Georgia to Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the annual Beech Party Fly-In. Photo courtesy of Madison Murray.
Young aviators Madison Murray and Christian Campbell flew a borrowed Beech 18 from Georgia to Tullahoma, Tennessee, for the annual Beech Party Fly-In. Photo courtesy of Madison Murray.

Each October the Beechcraft Heritage Museum hosts its annual Beech Party on the museum grounds in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The event, which is open to every make and model of aircraft, features guest speakers, seminars, wine tastings, outdoor movies, and even a short takeoff and landing demonstration.

Christian Campbell, 25, and Madison Murray, 20, flew a borrowed Beech 18 to the event and said that their favorite part was seeing the event coordinators “working to keep GA and Beech Party alive by getting more young people involved. Everyone was so welcoming to us. It was done right.”

Although the threat of weather kept some pilots from attending, the museum still welcomed over 750 registered attendees and hundreds of airplanes to the Tullahoma Municipal Airport for the four-day fly-in event.

This year’s event celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the Beechcraft AT–10 and AT–11. Modeled after the Beech 18, the AT–10 Wichita and AT–11 Kansan served as bomber trainers for the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. AT–11 owner John Hess said, “I was amazed at how far people flew in from. A few from California and some from Canada.” Hess, who is assisting with the restoration of the museum’s AT–11 project, continued, “The AT–11 porthole window project was a hit, with people being able to join in and learn to drill rivets.” Originally, AT–11s were equipped with small porthole windows, but in an attempt to make the aircraft passenger friendly after the war, the portholes were replaced with larger, rectangular windows. The museum and its volunteers are “drilling off the side skins, replacing with a new skin and the correct porthole windows” to preserve history.

Jay Stanford, who helped to coordinate the museum’s first STOL demonstration, which featured Carbon Cubs and Super Cubs, said the event was “an awesome time spent with old and new friends. The STOL demo team put on a great performance… we will be returning in 2022 for another demo.”

Pilots camp next to their airplanes during the Beech Party. Photo by Madison Murray. Volunteers work on the Beechcraft Heritage Museum’s AT-11 porthole project. Photo courtesy of John Hess. A Beech 18 provides the perfect site for tent camping. Photo by Madison Murray. One of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum's many hangars. Photo by Madison Murray. This AT-11, "Tantalizing Takeoff," compliments the colorful sunset. Beech Party celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the AT-10 and AT-11 at this year’s event. Photo by Madison Murray. Attendees gather around a gold-and-black Beechcraft Staggerwing. Photo courtesy of Madison Murray. Beech Party is open to all aircraft, but Beechcraft models are the most prevalent. Photo by Madison Murray. A Cianchette Lionheart is one of the many airplanes in the Beechcraft Heritage Museum's collection. Photo by Madison Murray. Rosie the Riveter re-enactor Dawn Totty drills rivets out of this AT-11. She is supervised by Craig Copeland. Photo by John Hess. The Cut-A-Way Bonanza is a fan favorite. Photo by Madison Murray. The most notable aircraft in the collection is the very first Beechcraft. Photo by Madison Murray. AT-11 owner John Hess inspects the Beechcraft Heritage Museum’s AT-11 project. Photo by Madison Murray. Jay Stanford, organizer of the STOL Demo, lines up for a landing. Photo courtesy of Jay Stanford. Staggerwings are a main attraction. Photo by Madison Murray.  A stunning Beech 18 on the ramp at Tullahoma Regional Airport. Photo by Madison Murray. The inaugural STOL Demo at Beech Party features Carbon Cubs and Super Cubs. Photo courtesy of Jay Stanford. "The AT-11 porthole project was a hit," said AT-11 owner and restorer John Hess. Photo by John Hess.  ”Look, but don’t touch!” This Bonanza has a perfect polish. Photo by Madison Murray. Staggerwings fly in from all over the country for Beech Party. Photo by Madison Murray. A Boeing Stearman is one of the of the non-Beechcraft products in attendance. Photo by Madison Murray. The second most notable aircraft in the Beechcraft Heritage Museum's collection is the Travel Air racer. It sits directly across from the very first Beechcraft. Photo by Madison Murray.
Cayla McLeod

Cayla McLeod

eMedia Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor-Web Cayla McLeod is a private pilot with a love for tailwheel and backcountry aircraft. When she isn't writing stories, she enjoys flying with friends and introducing others to general aviation.
Topics: Events

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