Beech Starships


#1

When visiting Dallas (at least twice a year through the 80’s and early 90’s) I would make one day a special day and visit the viewing plaza next to the Addison Airport. Always a special treat to sit there in the comfort of your car and enjoy the General Aviation community taxi their various aircraft to the active (cluster near the end of the runway…compacted at the end of the runway at times!!). I had dreams of getting a pilots license. Eventually, I got it and was lucky enough to be “one of those” clustered at the end of the active at ADS. But I am jumping way ahead!

I had heard that one and maybe other Starships were in and around the Texas area and the Beech Starship was a real heartthrob to me. What a sweet, first-ever-glass-cockpit private aviation sweetheart! The twin pushers and canard design was just…well…beautiful.

I finally moved to the Dallas area in 1995. One of the first nice, free days I had available allowed me to load up the SUV and take my two dogs over to the viewing area at an Addison plaza. This was a busy weekend (what would you expect for the busiest General Aviation airport in the country!), I parked the SUV, flipped the tailgate, sat down to pet the dogs, looked up and, yep, you can just about imagine what I am about to write: taxiing down toward the 15 active was a Beech Starship. My heart just about popped out of my chest. This was about the most incredible stroke of luck I had ever had. The Starship crew was cordial and waved at my sincere hand greetings. With scanner in hand, I quickly dialed up the tower to hear the Beech get it’s clearances and invitation to take the active and depart. Hearing the twin pushers wind up and see that magnificant plane roll and rotate was magic (!).

Today, I hear the Starship over my house on the approach to Addision and midway to TKI. Of course, it is the Piaggio Avanti (such an unmistakable whine to the engines!) passing over and my awe is just as strong for this wonderful plane. But not a time goes by when I hear the Avanti that my heart doesn’t go back to the days at the Addison plaza when my dream boat came strolling to the active.

I have had my limited hours in 172’s. But it is the dreaming that makes aviation so much fun. There is so much to dream about and no law against it!


#2

Tim, my son drives a Piaggio from the left seat and we have a mutual friend who was a frequent Starship driver and visits FA quite often. Hopefully Chris will say Hi to you as he’s just back in the States with a B350 delivery home to Wichita.

James


#3

Thanks! And I believe KS is the home to at least one of the remaining operational Starships. Remember the great large poster of the Starship cockpit that was so popular “back then?” Someone said there is still one in the DFW area (not the poster…the airplane!) but I have not seen anything about it. I believe confusion exists now with the popularity of the Piaggio and that is just totally understandable. I’ll be a kid in a candy store to just stand by either one before the curtain falls (!).


#4

I remember that one of my school age Social Studies or Science textbooks had a PR photo of a Starship in one of the last chapters. We of course never got to those chapters and I don’t know why the picture was included - but it was always one of my favorites.