Beecraft "Wee Bee"
1948 Beecraft "Wee Bee" (NX90840) replica c.1995 & c.1998 at the San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA
Bee Aviation Associates, Inc. (Beecraft) built three prototype aircraft, designed by William Chana, at Montgomery Field in San Diego, California. None of the aircraft went into production.
The first aircraft built was the "Wee Bee" in 1948. The "Wee Bee" is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's lightest aircraft. It had a two-cylinder engine and tricycle landing gear. The pilot flew in a prone position lying atop the fuselage. The "Honey Bee" was the second plane, completed in 1952. It had a single seat in an enclosed cabin. The "Queen Bee" was the last and the largest of the three. It was completed in 1960 and seated four. The "Queen Bee" and the "Honey Bee" had V-tails.
The "Queen Bee" and the "Wee Bee" were destroyed in a fire that also destroyed the San Diego Aerospace Museum on February 22, 1978. The "Honey Bee" escaped the fire as it was still operating out of Montgomery Field at the time, owned by Walt Mooney. In 2004 the Experimental Aircraft Association donated the "Honey Bee" to the San Diego Air & Space Museum where it is currently awaiting restoration at their Gillespie Field annex. Because of its historic significance a second "Wee Bee" was built and is now on display at the new San Diego Air & Space Museum.