Business: The Air Apparent

If crusty Olive Ann Beech, 69-year-old head of Wichita's Beech Aircraft Corp., is queen of the private-plane industry, her nephew Frank Hedrick is crown prince; since 1968 he has been Beech president. The division of labor has worked well, piloting Beech from a $7.7 million loss in fiscal 1970 to a $7,000,000 profit the next year. Now the family management team has begun merger negotiations with troubled Grumman Aircraft, which lost $70 million in 1972 mostly because of cost overruns on the Navy's F-14 Tomcat fighter plane. Grumman officials contend that those troubles are now well behind them and that a...

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