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Pioneer Wright Pilot - Plane Constructor

Alexander C. Beech was born at Cradley Heath, Staffs, England, April 4, 1873.  Information is lacking regarding his early life and when he came to the United States.

He first appeared on the American aviation scene as an engineer and construction supervisor for the National Aeroplane Company at Chicago, Illinois.  This firm was an outgrowth of the International Aeroplane Company  formed there about midsummer, 1911, then in November, 1911, was reorganized and the name changed to National.  The firm planned to build planes, conduct a flying school and engage in exhibition work.  At the time they had a large dual-control passenger plane under construction.  Beech must have had a commendable engineering background for he planned and supervised the building of this large new National biplane.

In January, 1912, the National Company opened their winter flying school at Galveston, Texas, with Paul Studensky and J. H. Worden as instructors.  They started flying operations with two Curtiss-type Roberts-powered byplanes and one Anzani-powered Bleriot monoplane.  In March, Beech was there with the new, large Beech-National dual-control, passenger-carrying biplane.  It embodied numerous Farman features, 52-foot span upper wing, 32-foot lower, Farman flap ailerons on upper wing only, Farman type landing gear, side-by-side seating and powered by a 6-cylinder, 75-horsepower Roberts engine.  Studensky conducted flight tests at once with Beech as a passenger.

This plane was in operation at the school until everything was moved back to Cicero Field, Chicago, in May.  The new plane flew well and was in regular operation by National that season at Chicago, and toward fall was taken out on exhibition work.  In June, Beech had another, but smaller, version of this plane flying at Cicero.  It was about three-quarters the size of the larger
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