Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor (Model 18)
Era – WW2
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 the 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.
In the early postwar era, the Beech 18 was the pre-eminent “business aircraft” and “feeder airliner”. Besides carrying passengers, its civilian uses have included aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish stocking, dry-ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air-mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon- and drug-smuggling, engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are now privately owned, around the world, with 240 in the U.S. still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in August 2017
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)
Empty Weight: 5,420 lb (2,458 kg)
Max Take Off Weight: 7,500 lb (3,402 kg)
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)