Olive Ann Beech: The First Lady of Aviation

Among the earliest and most influential people to emerge in the flight industry was Olive Ann Beech, co-founder of the Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation. Olive Ann led the company as it built iconic planes for civilians and the military, and helped to design important technology for NASA. In her decades of work with Beechcraft, she became affectionately known as “The First Lady of Aviation”.
Special Thanks and photo credit to the San Diego Air and Space Museum. sandiegoairandspace.org/historyguy
This is original content based on research by The History Guy. Images in the Public Domain are carefully selected and provide illustration. As very few images of the actual event are available in the Public Domain, images of similar objects and events are used for illustration.
All events are portrayed in historical context and for educational purposes. No images or content are primarily intended to shock and disgust. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Non censuram.
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Script by JCG
#history #thehistoryguy #Aviation

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  • This would make a good movie. I would be expensive to produce though.

    Holy HexHoly HexӨдрийн өмнө
  • Impressive Legacy, yes. THG thank you for making this knowledge available to us. I love your story telling as I am reminded of a journalist on CBS, unfortunately he is no longer with us however, you deliver information so effortlessly as he did. You need to produce a show for a t.v. Station like ABC, CBS, PBS, etc. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Michael -Michael -2 өдрийн өмнө
  • I occurs to me that an unflattering epithet might arise for a strong-willed woman running Beech Aircraft during a period where the image of women running business was both rare and perhaps resented.

    Ed HuberEd Huber3 өдрийн өмнө
  • The Beechcraft Stagger Wing is still one if the most heart breakingly beautiful airplanes ever designed. A very interesting article about Olive Ann Beech. A life well lived and a story that most are not familiar with.

    Scott LeeScott Lee9 өдрийн өмнө
  • YOU MAKE IT EASY TO LEARN.

    Ronnie WallRonnie Wall10 өдрийн өмнө
  • Nice!

    Fred HerfstFred Herfst12 өдрийн өмнө
  • What a great story about a great American lady.

    Porte CrayonPorte Crayon15 өдрийн өмнө
  • I really enjoy your episodes. But may I suggest you make one change in the printing you put on screen. Much of it is unreadable due to the lack of contrast between the print and background or because of the interesting fonts you use. They BLEND IN to the video beautifully.

    Mike SlaterMike Slater16 өдрийн өмнө
  • God bless the memory of this beautiful remarkable Woman..

    Atreyu PrincipalhAtreyu Principalh16 өдрийн өмнө
  • 02:53 the pilot stopped the train with his airplane so he could apologize to her?? Epic...

    outwiththemoutwiththem16 өдрийн өмнө
  • Great biography. Nicely done and greatly history.

    Frank GullaFrank Gulla18 өдрийн өмнө
  • WOW, really good job, really. You and your team are spot on!!

    K OBK OB21 өдрийн өмнө
  • You should do a History of Katherine Stinson one of the first American Female Aviators.. And her Brother Edward Stinson and The Stinson Aircraft Company. Very Interesting History...

    Chuck MumeyChuck Mumey23 өдрийн өмнө
  • The first, second, third, ahhh, one to Amelia & place her wherever you choose. But Beechcraft, the executive, was always an overachiever. Yet she could've retired with her fortune, but she had the drive, the passion, and the knowledge to succeed, She had it all.

    Tracy TrawickTracy Trawick23 өдрийн өмнө
  • In the late 60's I learned to fly in a 1957 g35 Bonanza, to this day it remains my favorite. BTW well done video !!

    scott coffmanscott coffman23 өдрийн өмнө
  • Born and raised in Wichita and I learn about this incredible lady from THG. Thank you!

    Jeff OhmartJeff Ohmart26 өдрийн өмнө
  • An exceptional figure in aviation history, properly remembered here. I am very grateful to be able to view this episode that fills in some of the most vital days of American aviation. That said, your "Conclusion" has a typo: "The Fist Lady of Aviation." While I am sure Olive Ann would appreciate the designation, perhaps a correction is in order for we more timid grammar checking personalities.

    Peter RoganPeter Rogan27 өдрийн өмнө
  • In case anyone is wondering, THAT, my friends, is how you apologize to your wife! Fly a plane onto the tracks, stop her train, and admit your mistake.

    CathyCathy27 өдрийн өмнө
  • Thanks for this. I grew up directly living across the street from Beech Aircraft in east Wichita.

    B BB B27 өдрийн өмнө
  • I don`t know if you are aware of it, But there is a Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee. It has many Beechcraft aircraft including the model 2000 Starship, plus Barons, Dukes, King air and even a T-34. The Museum also has an Olive Ann Beech Gallery and Chapel. You can find out more by looking up the Museums website at ( beechcrafthm.org )

    Lloyd FranklinLloyd Franklin28 өдрийн өмнө
  • Was thinking about how Beechcraft planes like the Kingair opened up the Bahamas and the Caribbean to tourism in the '60s and '70s. I never realized that the company was run by a woman.

    K. CK. C28 өдрийн өмнө
  • Excellent video! I actually live next to the Beechcraft factory and have met Olive Ann’s daughters several times. Keep up the fantastic video!

    trout bumtrout bum29 өдрийн өмнө
  • First Lady doesn't begin to describe Olive Ann Beech. She broke the mold, a president in her own right.

    LOManLOMan29 өдрийн өмнө
  • A great story about an American who illustrates well the quality of exceptionalism within her own person. FR

    frederic rikefrederic rike29 өдрийн өмнө
  • I find her to be the baddest Beech of all the Beech family. My apologies in advance, i love 🧀. Thanks HG!

    Unsavory CharacterUnsavory CharacterСарын өмнө
  • I have flown the Beech Bonanza, aka "Doctor Killer" - so called because of certain stability problems with the V tail.

    Treasure PlanetTreasure PlanetСарын өмнө
  • that was great hg...love you so much...

    mikeorclemmikeorclemСарын өмнө
  • I owned and flew a Beach 18 for 8 years. I flew it all over the US, Mexico, Central America and South America. It is a remarkable plane and a work horse.

    Mike StoneMike StoneСарын өмнө
  • Could Olive Ann Beech be called a spitfire in the aviation industry?

    Boyd The GoofballBoyd The GoofballСарын өмнө
  • I remember, way back in the early 1980s, my classmate and I took a field trip to the Beechcraft Aircraft Factory in my hometown.

    James OrthJames OrthСарын өмнө
  • Inspirational Lady. Now, what about Wally Funk?

    Allan SchrammAllan SchrammСарын өмнө
  • Wonderful ! Now what can you do with Pancho Barnes ? (aw c'mon. you know you want to)

    F.N. SchlubF.N. SchlubСарын өмнө
  • Boy, those are some beautiful NOAA King Airs! Can’t wait to hear about those Hurricane Hunters! ;) -Blue

    James CaswellJames CaswellСарын өмнө
    • Coming very soon!

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Thank y’all I didn’t forget to smash that like button Appreciate y’all all day long.

    Robert AbellRobert AbellСарын өмнө
  • Early in my 45 year career in aviation, I was fortunate to meet Olive Ann Beech in October 1977. She was a very cordial, very business-like woman. At the same time I had an interesting conversation with her nephew, then Beech president, Frank Hedrick about his thoughts about hydrogen powered aircraft, which they were experimenting with at the time using a Beech model 60 Duke.

    4n44n4Сарын өмнө
  • Watching this next to a 1947 V tail Bonanza

    Jacob LathropJacob LathropСарын өмнө
  • Frig the ads, bye.

    Cubs FanCubs FanСарын өмнө
  • I grew up about 2 blocks away from Mrs. Beech's house. We used to trick-or-treat at her house!

    krazmokramerkrazmokramerСарын өмнө
  • Ronald Devine said it-what`s the background montage about? Any relics that`deserve to be remembered`? Great video, but they should have (license built!) the DH Mosquito in WWII (P38 notwithstanding!)

    MoosiferMoosiferСарын өмнө
  • Great episode ! A Beechcraft Bonanza was the first airplane in which I ever flew, back in 1981.

    Kitty HawkKitty HawkСарын өмнө
  • This is the type of role model modern feminists need to look up to, not Frida Khalo or IG “models”

    JavierCR25JavierCR25Сарын өмнө
  • Wow - I once dated a woman who was one of the granddaughters of Stearman - Beech, Stearman, Cessna - without those names, there probably wouldn't be any civilian aircraft today.

    Bill DiceBill DiceСарын өмнө
  • Another great one H.G. In trying to reduce the company's dependence on government contracts Olive Ann Beech expressed what all good, innovative companies realize, government is always the customer of last resort.

    Richard MourdockRichard MourdockСарын өмнө
  • I'm no business person but why do companies rely on loans rather than pay off debit and build a reserve.

    max Paynemax PayneСарын өмнө
  • THG, a tie in to Beech. See the Sept 2004 edition of " Air & Space Smithsonian " for the article " Beached Starship " that outlines the cutting edge and somewhat troubled Beech Starship aircraft. As a side note, there are a handful of the 53 planes still flying. To quote " . . . ( in the early 1980's ) As tensions grew between Rutan and Beech, they also grew between Beech and Raytheon. Beech's genteel culture buckled under the abrupt ways of its new parent. Since 1950, Beech had been run by Walter Beech's much younger widow, Olive Ann. Mrs Beech would put yellow " happy face " stickers on the office doors of meritorious executives. Company picnics were courtly, civilized affairs." It then goes on to say how Raytheons clamps tightened with Mrs Beech being pushed aside. Between 82 and 89 there were 3 presidents and 4 engineering VPs leaving the company in a constant state of flux.

    Bob RobertsBob RobertsСарын өмнө
  • love the Beech Starship for all that it is.

    glassdaveglassdaveСарын өмнө
    • @Randy Herbrechtsmeier very cool.

      glassdaveglassdave26 өдрийн өмнө
    • I Painted all of them the Right side from 2 to 53. Alot Fun and Great Memories

      Randy HerbrechtsmeierRandy HerbrechtsmeierСарын өмнө
  • Must pay a visit to the San Diego Air and Space museum next time I'm over.

    anthony beechanthony beechСарын өмнө
  • One job I had briefly to work my way through college was at the El Paso, Tx. International Airport and it's Cessna - Beechcraft facility. I was very impressed with it and learned a lot.

    Planet EarthPlanet EarthСарын өмнө
  • I love your videos but won't you PLEASE slow down? Please

    Thomas FlynnThomas FlynnСарын өмнө
  • Have been flying and into airplanes my whole life, from flying in military aircraft as a child to flying with bush pilots in Alaska and "puddle jumpers" in Central America. Beech aircraft can be found in every corner of the world. But I never knew this back story. Amazing. Yet again, thank you for a fascinating glimpse of history.

    Dirk DitmerDirk DitmerСарын өмнө
  • Is there a History of the Bow Tie?

    Larry ScottLarry ScottСарын өмнө
  • Great story, and a very impressive lady. A real role model for us all.

    Chris TChris TСарын өмнө
  • One my favorite aircraft is the Beech 18. Also I have been to San Diego Air and Space museum it is a great museum.

    Glen TowlerGlen TowlerСарын өмнө
  • Wow.

    Evin ChesterEvin ChesterСарын өмнө
  • Just after the United States Air Force became its own branch in 1947 it took delivery of its very first airplane, a refurbished Beechcraft C-45G given the serial number "AF-1" It was rescued as a derelict, restored,, and still exists on display today in Wichita.

    Riley KitchenRiley KitchenСарын өмнө
  • Born and raised in Wichita in 1962, I have watched all the aircraft companies go through highs and lows over the years. I never heard one negative thing about Mrs. Beech. The one thing i will say about growing up here is you never lack for seeing or hearing an airplane. Wichita is home to Travelair, Stearman, Beech, Cessna, Learjet and Boeing. And I am sure there are others I missed. If you ever get to see a Staggerwing aircraft you won't forget it. They are beautiful sitting still or flying. One thing you forgot to add to ther list, is the prebuilt restaurants that Breech built. There is one at Pioneer Village in Nebraska. They were aluminum rivited together and hauled by truck to the locations. Thank you History Guy for all your great and hard work. God bless you brother...

    JoeJoeСарын өмнө
  • Just one word: Fantastic video! Okay, two words. She was an amazing woman, and she does deserve to be remembered. Thanks, History Guy :)

    That Bob GuyThat Bob GuyСарын өмнө
  • I've always wanted a T-34. You know, if the military have any spares lying around.

    Paul DrakePaul DrakeСарын өмнө
  • Nice new pair of glasses! They fit your channel color palette very well! Also I think I might have the same pair of your old glasses? The module number inside my glasses say they are a "ray ban rb7047" If you google that and go to images I cant tell a difference to yours. A link to a seller with good pictures: www.glassesusa.com/black-large/ray-ban-7047/44-p3846.html?referral=shoppingfeed&gclid=Cj0KCQjwrsGCBhD1ARIsALILBYrknXyJ0_Kvbd7pzG15GE9iAupCKLwtveY2zF7-6ZgkzSUsiKNHEmoaAsxQEALw_wcB

    TylerM814TylerM814Сарын өмнө
    • I still wear the other glasses. I was given five pairs when we did a sponsored episode fir glassesUSA, and switch them around from time to time.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Great channel, Mr. G.

    InfoScholarInfoScholarСарын өмнө
  • THG: Check the screen text at 13:29-34 THE "FIST LADY OF AVIATION". Missing the "R" in FIRST.

    gregaj7gregaj7Сарын өмнө
  • I owned a 1952 model 35 bonanza I bought from my father. It's still the best built plane I ever flew.

    Will AshmoreWill AshmoreСарын өмнө
  • I think I would watch a series about Mrs. Beech.

    Carroll McPhersonCarroll McPhersonСарын өмнө
  • SUPERB,just SUPERB.

    Mark PaulMark PaulСарын өмнө
  • Wow the things you learn from THG

    David StearnsDavid StearnsСарын өмнө
  • . . . secretary in the days when secretaries often worked in office pools for large companies. If this had been a test, I would have failed. Earhart always comes to mind.

    GaslitWorld f. Melissa BGaslitWorld f. Melissa BСарын өмнө
  • Excellent as always. I would like to suggest you consider a couple of Americans who participated in the Greek war of independence. We are coming up on the 200th anniversary of the beginning of that revolution. Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and John M. Allen are held in great esteem by the Greeks. You can reference the AHEPA website pages noting the commemoration at ahepa.org/ahepa-kicks-off-greeces-bicentennial-celebration-by-%ef%bb%bfpaying-homage-to-american-philhellene/ and at ahepa.org/ahepa-commemorates-philhellene-john-m-allen-in-annapolis-for-his-efforts-in-greek-war-of-independence/.

    robert sextonrobert sextonСарын өмнө
  • A woman from northwest Arkansas broke records in altitude in California. A woman from England broke distance records to far places in Africa and Asia. Those women flew planes. Mrs. Beech sat in a chair.

    ARailwayARailwayСарын өмнө
    • And made planes for them to fly...

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Fascinating! How about doing a show about the Sky King television show.

    Boathousejoe DBoathousejoe DСарын өмнө
  • History guy, you need to be a technical advisor for the movie of this amazing woman, imagine Angelina Jolie playing her role in American aviation

    Jeff YoungJeff YoungСарын өмнө
  • Sadly, I forget the name of a book I read several years ago, but it was the women, 2 of whom you mentioned, in the early history of aviation and the races they ran. Wonderful "herstory".

    Jennifer HortonJennifer HortonСарын өмнө
  • Kansas native - Thanks for a great episode on Beechcraft - as in Olive Ann!

    AJ67901AJ67901Сарын өмнө
    • Thanks for watching!

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Spent a lot of my youth in the 'old' S.D. Aerospace museum and became a volunteer when they moved into the 'old' Ford Building and that is where I became a Fan of history!

    john j goodjohn j goodСарын өмнө
  • Wasn't it a Beechcraft plane that Buddy Holly and the others died in? Thank you for another interesting video History Guy.

    Sam EyersSam EyersСарын өмнө
    • Correct- that was a Beechcraft Bonanza.

      The History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedThe History Guy: History Deserves to Be RememberedСарын өмнө
  • Thanks for introducing me to my new role model! Luv to know, always!

    Tina McLaughlinTina McLaughlinСарын өмнө
  • Wow, what an incredible businesswoman and innovator

    Doc_HawkDoc_HawkСарын өмнө
  • Extraordinary leadership produced the Cadillac of light airplanes. I've had the pleasure of flying several Beechcraft models from the Skipper to the King Air. All are well built, strong, and of the highest craftsmanship and quality. Olive Beech was an American legend who deserves to be remembered. Great job History Guy! (A suggestion for a future episode: the history of America's first president, Samuel Huntington).

    Robert ConryRobert ConryСарын өмнө
  • It sounds like it would be a hell of a movie

    loudarkloudarkСарын өмнө
  • Wonderful story and really beautiful aircraft. Thank you History Guy!

    Paul MonteroPaul MonteroСарын өмнө
  • I am a licensed pilot and a licensed aircraft mechanic. I grew up in Denver and worked for Denver Beechcraft for several years. Olive Ann Beech was an inspiration to all of us at Beechcraft. I toured the Wichita factory in 1965. I was so impressed with the quality control there compared to the Cessna and Lear Jet Factories there. She was a remarkable leader. Thanks, History Guy.

    Rex MyersRex MyersСарын өмнө
  • The obsolete alligator ontogenetically double because clef spatially hang apropos a spooky development. abhorrent, loud grandson

    Ms DhoniMs DhoniСарын өмнө
  • You incorrectly state that the V-Tailed Bonanza has been in continuous production since 1947. The last year model for the V-Tailed Bonanza was in 1982. Other "straight tailed" variants still go by the name "Bonanza", but they are fundamentally different in design and performance.

    Jerrid FullingimJerrid FullingimСарын өмнө
  • Many thanks for a really well told history. Luscombe, another manufacturer of the Beech era, is going into production of a Light Sport Aircraft based upon it's Silvaire 2seat, cabin monoplane. Juan Brown recently did a report on his Blancolirio MNthe channel.

    Donald ReachDonald ReachСарын өмнө
  • I enjoyed as always. Thank you

    James EnglandJames EnglandСарын өмнө
  • Olive Ann paid for a lot of the church building most of my family worshipped in for most of their lives.

    Andrew LonghoferAndrew LonghoferСарын өмнө
  • My very first flight was in a Beechcraft Sundowner. We flew out of Wichita Mid-Continent (ICT) to Norwich,KS, about 35 miles away, visited my Mum, had a cup of coffee and a piece of cake,. and flew back. The pre-flight check took longer than the flight. LOL!

    Jovan WeismillerJovan WeismillerСарын өмнө
  • A remarkable woman, Love Beechcraft airplanes.❤️

    james batemanjames batemanСарын өмнө
  • I worked for Beech Aerospace Services Inc aka BASI. We maintained the King Airs sold to all 5 branches of the military. Raytheon had already acquired Beech by the time I went to work for them. Some may have noticed that the company was called Beechcraft long after Raytheon acquired the company. There was an agreement that the Beechcraft companies would continue to bare the Beech name for as long as Mrs. Beech was still alive. On the BASI side of things we were all afford employment at the same pay, benefits and seniority that we had at BASI. One day we all came to work in a different uniform. I didn't clean out my desk or roll out my tool box. What was called Beech is now owed by Textron. Textron even continues to handle my Raytheon retirement benefits.

    Tracy CurtrightTracy CurtrightСарын өмнө
    • See the Sept 2004 edition of " Air & Space Smithsonian " for the article " Beached Starship " that outlines the cutting edge and somewhat troubled Beech Starship aircraft. As a side note, there are a handful of the 53 planes still flying. To quote " . . . ( in the early 1980's ) As tensions grew between Rutan and Beech, they also grew between Beech and Raytheon. Beech's genteel culture buckled under the abrupt ways of its new parent. Since 1950, Beech had been run by Walter Beech's much younger widow, Olive Ann. Mrs Beech would put yellow " happy face " stickers on the office doors of meritorious executives. Company picnics were courtly, civilized affairs." It then goes on to say how Raytheons clamps tightened with Mrs Beech being pushed aside. Between 82 and 89 there were 3 presidents and 4 engineering VPs leaving the company in a constant state of flux.

      Bob RobertsBob RobertsСарын өмнө
  • As a Beechcraft owner, I approve of this history that deserves to be remembered.

    Eric StoltzEric StoltzСарын өмнө
    • See the Sept 2004 edition of " Air & Space Smithsonian " for the article " Beached Starship " that outlines the cutting edge and somewhat troubled Beech Starship aircraft. As a side note, there are a handful of the 53 planes still flying. To quote " . . . ( in the early 1980's ) As tensions grew between Rutan and Beech, they also grew between Beech and Raytheon. Beech's genteel culture buckled under the abrupt ways of its new parent. Since 1950, Beech had been run by Walter Beech's much younger widow, Olive Ann. Mrs Beech would put yellow " happy face " stickers on the office doors of meritorious executives. Company picnics were courtly, civilized affairs." It then goes on to say how Raytheons clamps tightened with Mrs Beech being pushed aside. Between 82 and 89 there were 3 presidents and 4 engineering VPs leaving the company in a constant state of flux.

      Bob RobertsBob RobertsСарын өмнө
  • I walk down a road called Expeditor every day. I didn’t know how to pronounce it until this episode. I’ve only known is as Beech 18, one of my favourites to see, especially when on floats. I started my career flying a 1969 King Air 100 and have operated the Beech 1900 as well. I have Walter and Olive Ann to thank for these machines. Hearing the story of her persistence gives me a lot more appreciation for these planes. Thanks for the constant insight offered in your videos. I love them and they have really help me get through this pandemic!!

    rob tenborgrob tenborgСарын өмнө
  • Two weekends back, I saw an unusual aircraft in the sky near my parents' place: twin tail, sharp nose, engine sound like a warbird. Some digging later, we identified it as a Beech 18.

    Eric HusmannEric HusmannСарын өмнө
  • This is the story to the tee of behind ever great man is a greater woman. Wow

    Flying'N'DrivingFlying'N'DrivingСарын өмнө
  • I watched this episode twice. Great story!

    Chris RobinsonChris RobinsonСарын өмнө
  • No Dr killer reference when talking about the bonanza... Shame

    Flying'N'DrivingFlying'N'DrivingСарын өмнө
    • To adapt a frequently heard phrase, planes don't kill people...

      LizJLizJСарын өмнө
  • Raytheon: What a bunch of dopes. Deep sixing an iconic general aviation nameplate in favor of theirs, which, though important, was really only known in defense contractor circles. I wonder if part of the reason they sold it to Hawker was they couldn’t admit a mistake.

    George WilsonGeorge WilsonСарын өмнө
  • Beechcraft made beautiful birds!

    Benjamin ArmstrongBenjamin ArmstrongСарын өмнө
  • What a great story plot for a movie!

    John KerrJohn KerrСарын өмнө
  • The King Air is an awesome skydive jump plane, gets to altitude ***fast***. I've also jumped from 30,000 ft from a King Air, a model made in 1969. It had no problem flying that high and maintaining level flight reduced speed for the exiting skydivers.

    wrightmfwrightmfСарын өмнө
  • Great company, great telling of its history. Yet incomplete without at least a passing mention of Beechcraft's connection to Apollo 13.

    stephenswanson1stephenswanson1Сарын өмнө
    • Flyem inside Flight Envelope No Worries. Get Crazy with a V tail. They will Not Forgive you

      Randy HerbrechtsmeierRandy HerbrechtsmeierСарын өмнө
  • Keep up the good work , our history must not die . GOD BESS your efforts. Studerbaker Kary 3-15-21 .

    50s Lover50s LoverСарын өмнө