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2011-03-21 11:13:05 GMT 2011-03-25 10:00:00 (GMT -06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 0 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 50 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
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A fine Kansas afternoon in 1929. Walter Beech, a handsome barnstorming seat-of-the-pants flyer turned airplane manufacturer, invites his secretary for a ride in an open cockpit two-seater with the intention of scaring her half to death. Walter rolls the plane over and then looks back in horror at the empty passenger’s seat. He’s lost his precious cargo. An hour later he stands at her parents’ doorstep, steeling himself to explain that he’s dropped their daughter from several thousand feet somewhere over the Kansas prairie. And who answers the door but the young, beautiful passenger he was mourning? Olive Ann Mellor, who had hidden herself in the backseat to teach him an early lesson: that this lithe, savvy young woman would prove to be his equal in every way.
This is the story of two unlikely people who come together to pioneer breakthroughs in America’s fledgling aviation industry. And who will go on to build one of the world’s greatest businesses ever to fly. It’s a love story. And a story of conflict. With more than its share of comedy. He is a two-fisted drinker with an eye for the ladies. She is his foundation, his champion and, when necessary, his foil.
In the mid-1920s, young World War I veteran Walter Beech roars around the air racing circuit, winning race after race.
“I'd like to give thanks for my win to the fancy navigation instruments and my navigator,” says Walter after one national tour win. “But I must admit that much of my navigation used the time-honored process of following rivers, roads, section lines and the old reliable Iron Compass: the railroad tracks.”
These Jazz Age pilots flew by gut instinct. And Walter is a barnstormer’s barnstormer, finishing one race with two gallons of fuel left, ignoring the finger-thick stream jetting out of the tank.
Walter parlays his racing success into a partnership with Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman, and forms the Travel Air Manufacturing Company, a sort of prototype for what will become the Beechcraft, Cessna Aircraft and Boeing Stearman companies.
In 1925, Clyde Cessna hires a 21-year-old secretary from Waverly, Kansas. She never shrinks from the offer of an airplane ride, even with a barnstormer. The same year she’s hired, she accompanies Walter in an open cockpit from Kansas to New York. The return trip is rather frosty, so Walter – whom she’ll come to know as “Popper” to her “Annie” – lands the plane, collects wood from a hedgerow and builds her a fire. Symbolic, perhaps, of the fire gathering in Walter’s heart. Soon, she becomes Walter’s secretary.
By 1927 business is good enough that Walter turns down Charles Lindbergh’s request to build the airplane that would take him across the Atlantic. Beech has a backlog to service. Foreseeing the day when movie star pilots will come to Wichita to train on and take possession of their jets, Walter Beech is host to the likes of Lindbergh and Wallace Beery, for whom Travel Air designs a fantastic 6000, a virtual limousine of the air. And later Olive Ann will welcome celebrities to Mahogany Row, the nickname for her formidable corporate office. You might see Bob Hope, Arthur Godfrey, Walt Disney and even President Lyndon Johnson, whose fondness for the King Air is no secret.
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