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Travel Air Manufacturing Company

Travel Air OX-5 airplaneClyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman joined their talents to form Travel Air Manufacturing in Wichita on January 26, 1925. The company’s first planes were open cockpit biplanes made for racing and training. In the first Women's Air Derby of 1929, seven of the competitors flew Travel Air planes. Pilot Louise Thaden placed first in the race in her Travel Air.

In the post World War I years, individuals and businesses began to see the need for air transportation, and Travel Air began to develop aircraft to serve this growing market. Subsequent models were monoplanes made for the airlines, used for both mail and passenger routes, and private business use. Their series of "mystery ships," used for racing, were reported to be the fastest aircraft available.

When the Great Depression in 1929 impacted Travel Air’s sales, the partners sold the company to Curtiss-Wright Corporation, which eventually became the largest air manufacturer in the U.S. Cessna, Beech, and Stearman each formed other aircraft companies in Wichita.

Entry: Travel Air Manufacturing Company

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2012

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.