Roden Aircraft 1/48 Beechcraft UC43 Staggerwing WWII USAAF Light Transport BiPlane Kit
At the end of the 1920's, when the United States was ailing from the Great Depression, the numerous air shows were a rare pastime for many people who were disillusioned with their future and wanted distraction from the gray life around them. Pilots and stuntmen who every weekend entertained an ordinary audience, also dreamed of another existence, one with much less risk of losing their livelihood at any moment, and often even their life. Many former barnstormers soon went on to find work in newly formed airlines and numerous mail and cargo delivery services, but some of them, such as Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech, devoted their lives to aircraft building.
In 1924 they founded a small company, Travel Air Manufacturing, which soon was absorbed by the aviation giant Curtiss Wright. Some years later Walter Beech together with his wife Olive founded their own aircraft manufacturing company, the Beech Aircraft Corporation. One of the first successful projects of the newly formed company was the Model 17, which acquired the name Staggerwing because of its unconventional biplane wing arrangement - that is, with the upper wing located to the rear of the lower one.
The new aircraft was designed by the company as a luxury high-speed cabin plane for short-distance flights, but America was just coming out of the Great Depression, so orders for this novel type from Walter Beech were scarce in the early years. In the mid 1930's the designer made a number of changes to its construction - the fuselage was lengthened, the ailerons were moved to the upper wing, and the track of the undercarriage extended. The modified version was designated the D17 and quickly won the favor of pilots. Before WWII the company was able to sell 424 planes of this type and not only in the U.S. The D17 gained great fame after taking part in the prestigious Bendix Trophy race, and in 1937 pilot Jackie Cochran set a women's speed record of 203 miles per hour.