The First Flight Society has announced that Walter and Olive Ann Beech have been named the 2023 Honorees to be inducted into the Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine located in the Museum and Visitors Center at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, USA.
This honor is selected annually by a high-level panel appointed by the First Flight Society, from among numerous nominations submitted from around the world as well as compiled lists of qualified candidates. The induction ceremony will be held on Wright Brothers Day, December 17, 2023, with a celebration banquet held on December 16, 2023, in Kitty Hawk. A portrait of the Beeches will be unveiled and presented at the ceremony on December 17th, 2023, celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers First Flight.
Walter Herschel Beech (January 30, 1891 – November 29, 1950) was an American aviator and early aviation entrepreneur who co-founded the Beech Aircraft Company in 1932 with his wife, Olive Ann Beech, and a team of three others. Olive Ann Mellor Beech (September 25, 1903 – July 6, 1993) was an American aerospace businesswoman who was not only co-founder, but later president, and chairwoman of the Beech Aircraft Corporation. She earned more awards, honorary appointments, and special citations than any other woman in aviation history and was often referred to as the “First Lady of Aviation”.
William Douglas, Chairman of the First Flight Society’s National Advisory Committee, served as Chair of the Dr. Paul E. Garber Shrine Selection Panel and managed the selection process.
Honorees for the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine are selected annually by a National Advisory Committee from a list of nominees submitted to the First Flight Society and public that is passed to the Committee for consideration. For 2024 the committee accepts a letter of nomination accompanied by supporting documentation.
For more information about the Paul E Garber Shrine visit www.firstflight.org/first-flight-shrine/