Last week, shortly after I came out of my Pima Air Museum aircraft OD coma, someone asked me what my favorites there were. Of course I ticked off my usual list of post-lottery-win purchase choices--Corsair, B-26K, Stearman, etc.,--but in my haste, I forgot about one special aircraft that I found out in the dust of their back lot: The Beechcraft Starship. Only 53 were ever produced, and Beech recovered and destroyed most of them, but they had one here, sitting forlorn and neglected along the back fence.
Designed by Burt Rutan in the early 1980s, it was revolutionary for it's twin pusher props, forward canard control surfaces, composite construction (no metal) and all-glass cockpit. It also reportedly flew like a dream. But despite remarkable reviews, it never sold well in the bad economy of the immediate post-Carter years and Beech quit making them. eventually they recalled or repurchased most of them and incinerated them. Two or three still reportedly fly today, but most of the few survivors are in museums, just like N39TU here.