Up Close with the Beechcraft Starship

A Very Unusual Airplane

The Beechcraft Starship was the first composite plane ever created, and only 11 were built.

History of NC-50

I talked to the current owner of this Starship, serial number NC-50. He told the story of how he came to own it, and some of the things that make the Beechcraft Starship a very unique plane in civil aviation.

Limitations of the Starship

The Starship is a Burt Rutan design, which accounts for many of its unique qualities, but also led to some complications, and ultimately the short production life of the plane.

The Problems of Trailblazing

As the first composite-construction plane, the Starship had a number of advantages, but also some issues such as greater weight than comparably-sized aircraft.

In the Cockpit of the Beechcraft Starship

The Starship had one of the first all-glass cockpits, with display screens replacing mechanical instruments. Many of the redundant systems are more reminiscent of commercial airliners than a smaller twin-engine plane.

The Forward Wing

The forward wing is used both to slow the plane on approach, and to make it more stall-proof.


  1. says

    Very cool episode! I’ve yet to see a Starship up close and personal like that. Burt Rutan is a true genius when it comes to aircraft design. He’s the designer behind SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo (Virgin Galatic fame), as well as the Long-EZ in which Chip Yates set the world speed record of 202mph ( http://www.flightofthecentury.com ) in July of this year! #avgeeks everywhere would love to see more of this type of episode!