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Collins Staggerwing
In the summer of 1933, Walter Beech needed a variation of the Model 17 which was less expensive to produce and would sell for less that $10,000, but possess more performance, fuel economy, comfort, and overall value than competing aircraft could offer.

Ted Wells began redesigning the basic Model 17, changing to a smaller engine, a much lighter airframe, and a fully retractable landing gear. The result was the B17-series which was in production between 1934 and 1936. Four versions eventually were developed, including the B17B (285-hp Jacobs R-830-1), the B17E (285-hp Wright R-760E1), the B17L, and the more powerful B17R (420-hp Wright R-975).
Beechcraft B17L NC14409, c/n 21, was the 19th Model 17 delivered in 1934. After taking delivery on December 23, 1934, famous racing pilot Capt. Frank Hawks of Redding, CT, used it for coast-to-coast and cross-country flying. In 1938, after the death of Hawks, the plane was passed between several individuals in the Rochester, NY area. Subsequent owners included F. Haile of TX; James Reese of OR in 1955; L.T. Jagiello of CA in 1963; and Herbert Thomas of CA in 1966.

The last owner, John Collins of Neward, CA, bought the aircraft in 1969 and began a lengthy restoration. John was interested in airplanes (a model builder) from the early 1930s and was an AAF aircraft mechanic during WWII. As a Staggerwing Museum member since 1976, he recounted progress at nearly every Staggerwing Convention. The long process was finally completed in 1998, only about a month before John died. According to John’s wishes, Mrs. Mary Collins donated the plane to the Staggerwing Museum, as a silent tribute to a devoted Staggerwinger.
Additional Photos
Additional Information

Model: B17L
c/n: 21, mfg Dec 23, 1934
Number Built: 46
Gross Weight (lbs): 3,150
Empty Weight (lbs): 1,650
Wingspan (ft): 32'
Length (ft): 14'6"
Engine: Jacobs R-755D (L-4)

Model B17L Specifications

Type Certification: TC-560, issued Dec 4, 1934
Registration: N14409
Selling Price: $9,999.80 (in 1934)
Cruise Speed (mph): 175
Landing Speed (mph): 45
Fuel-STD/OPT (gals): 50/120
Range (mi): 600
Output (hp): 225

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