The Beechcraft C17L Staggerwing was the first aircraft produced by the new Beech Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas. It was a gamble for President Walter Beech and Vice-president Ted Wells who was chief designer of the aircraft. Produced during the depths of the Great Depression, this expensive aircraft was designed as a high-speed, comfortable business airplane. The gamble was successful with 781 Beech 17s produced in eight different series. The aircraft was technologically advanced for its time, and the negative staggered wing arrangement, which improved the pilot's visibility from the aircraft and the airplane's gentle stall characteristics, also contributed to the design's classic beauty.