The Beechcraft Model 18 (or “Twin Beech”, as it is also known) is a 6- to 11-seat, twin-engined, low-wing, tailwheel light aircraft manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. Continuously produced from 1937 to November 1969 (over 32 years, a world record at the time), over 9,000 were built, making it one of the world’s most widely used light aircraft. Sold worldwide as a civilian executive, utility, cargo aircraft, and passenger airliner on tailwheels, nosewheels, skis, or floats, it was also used as a military aircraft.
During and after World War II, over 4,500 Beech 18s were used in military service—as light transport, light bomber (for China), aircrew trainer (for bombing, navigation, and gunnery), photo-reconnaissance, and “mother ship” for target drones—including United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, and AT-11 Kansan; and United States Navy (USN) UC-45J Navigator, SNB-1 Kansan, and others. In World War II, over 90% of USAAF bombardiers and navigators trained in these aircraft.
Specifications (UC-45 Expeditor)
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Data from Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II.
Crew: 2 pilots
Capacity: 6 passengers
Length: 34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)
Wingspan: 47 ft 8 in (14.53 m)
Height: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Wing area: 349 sq ft (32.4 m2)
Empty weight: 5,420 lb (2,458 kg)
Gross weight: 7,500 lb (3,402 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 “Wasp Junior” radial engines, 450 hp (340 kW) each
Maximum speed: 225 mph (362 km/h, 196 kn)
Range: 1,200 mi (1,900 km, 1,000 nmi) at 160 mph (260 km/h; 140 kn) and 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
Service ceiling: 26,000 ft (7,900 m)
Rate of climb: 1,850 ft/min (9.4 m/s)