Larry A. Ball took his first flight in a Bonanza over half a century ago, not knowing that he would later work for Beechcraft for nearly forty years. Beginning as a Bonanza Service Engineer and ultimately becoming overall Program Manager, his association with the Bonanza stands today as the longest at the factory in Wichita, Kansas—so long, in fact, that he was frequently referred to as Mr. Bonanza.
After working in Wichita, Larry transferred to Indiana Beechcraft, in Indianapolis, which he managed from 1973 to 1988. He was also Vice President and General Manager of Ohio Aviation (in Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati) and Hartzog Aviation (Rockford, Illinois) during 1986-87.
The idea for becoming an aviation historian began in 1964 while Larry was working for Beechcraft and realized that many records, and—more importantly—many memories, would soon be unavailable or too dim to enable a writer to compile a really definitive story of the Bonanza. Larry’s desire to preserve history became Those Incomparable Bonanzas, his first book.
Upon retirement from Beechcraft Aircraft Aviation, Larry began writing a continuation of his first book (They Called Me Mr. Bonanza) as well as tackling other Beechcraft stories. In addition, he wrote numerous articles for Flying Magazine, Private Pilot Magazine, and for the American Bonanza Society and Mooney Pilot Association magazines.
Larry A. Ball unexpectedly “went west” in 2005, but his passionate desire to preserve aviation history through his unparalleled books remains his rich legacy.