Ted Wells was born March 12, 1907 in Coming, Iowa. While a student at Princeton University, he purchased a surplus World War I Jenny. In only four hours and twenty minutes he was soloing. From that start he was barnstorming his way around the country offering $1.00 rides in his OX-5 Travel Air at county fairs. After winning the 1929 Transcontinental National Air Races, he served as test pilot and chief engineer for the Travel Air Company in St. Louis, Missouri.
Realizing that the top wing obstructed a pilot’s view during turns, Ted designed a bi-winged airplane that would-overcome this disadvantage by displacing the top wing a few inches. With the production of Ted’s “Staggerwing” airplane, came the Beech Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, started by Walter Beech in 1932.
Design and engineering were Ted’s forte. Credited to his talent is the famous Beech model 18, also known as the Model C-45, used by the United States government as a navigation training and transport aircraft, and the Beech Bonanza V-tail airplane. Ted Wells’ designs and engineering were the foundation for quality aircraft from the 1930’s through the 1950’s.