DescriptionThe Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing is an American biplane with an atypical negative wing stagger (the lower wing is farther forward than the upper wing). It first flew in 1932.
At the height of the Great Depression, aircraft executive Walter H. Beech and airplane designer Ted A. Wells joined forces to collaborate on a project to produce a large, powerful, and fast cabin biplane built specifically for the business executive. The Beechcraft Model 17, popularly known as the "Staggerwing", was first flown on November 4, 1932. During its heyday, it was used as an executive aircraft, much as the private jet is now, and its primary competition were the Waco Custom Cabin and Waco Standard Cabin series of biplanes.
The Model 17's unusual negative stagger wing configuration (the upper wing staggered behind the lower) and unique shape maximized pilot visibility and was intended to reduce interference drag between the wings (although it was later found to have negligible effect). The fabric-covered fuselage was faired with wood formers and stringers over a welded, steel tube frame. Construction was complex and took many man-hours to complete. The Staggerwing's retractable conventional landing gear, uncommon at that time, combined with careful streamlining, light weight, and a powerful radial engine, helped it perform well.
In the mid-1930s, Beech undertook a major redesign of the aircraft, to create the Model D17 Staggerwing. The D17 featured a lengthened fuselage that improved the aircraft's handling characteristics by increasing control leverage, and the ailerons were relocated to the upper wings, eliminating interference with the flaps. Braking was improved with a foot-operated brake linked to the rudder pedals.
Number built: 785
For details of the operational history and numerous variants, click here.
- Crew: one Capacity: 125 lb (56.7 kg) baggage and three passengers
- 26 ft 10 in (8.18 m)
- 32 ft (9.8 m)
- 8 ft (2.4 m)
- Wing Area:
- 296.5 sq ft (27.55 sq m
- Wing Loading:
- 14.3 lb/sq ft (70 kg/sq m)
- Empty Weight:
- 2,540 lb (1,152 kg)
- Gross weight: 4,250 lb (1,928 kg)
- 1 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 "Wasp Junior" radial engine, 450 hp (340 kW) at 2,300 rpm
- Maximum speed: 212 mph (341 km/h, 184 kn)
- Cruise Speed:
- 202 mph (325 km/h, 176 kn)
- 670 mi (1,078 km, 582 nmi)
- Rate of Climb:
- 1,500 ft/min (7.6 m/s)
- Service Ceiling:
- 25,000 ft (7,600 m)