Beech Model 18
1937
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Beech Model 18

With the Model 17 well established, Beech began in 1935 the development of a six/eight-seat commercial transport identified as the Beech Model 18. This was a very different aeroplane from the Model 17, being a low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, with a semi-monocoque fuselage of light alloy, a cantilever tail unit incorporating twin end-plate fins and rudders, and electrically retractable tailwheel landing gear. Float or ski landing gear was to become optional. Standard accommodation provided for two crew and six passengers, and the initial powerplant installation comprised two 239kW Wright R-760-E2 radial engines mounted in wing leading-edge nacelles.

The initial Model 18A was flown for the first time on 15 January 1937. Even the most interested eyewitness of the event might have been little thrilled by the appearance of yet another twin-engined light commercial and, perhaps, would have expected it to gain only very limited marketing success. He could not have been more wrong, for the type was not only to remain in production for a record 32 years, but has since proved a popular choice for conversion by a number of American companies, with modifications intended to provide improved performance or greater capacity.

However, this glimpse at the future overlooks the early period when perhaps only Walter Beech was convinced that the Model 18 represented a worthwhile project. An improved Model 18B with lower-powered engines also sold in only penny-packet numbers, and the first sign that the company was on the right track came with the Model 18D of 1939. This had 246kW Jacobs L-6 engines, providing improved performance and much the same economy of operation as the Model 18B. Only about 30 of these were sold in 1940, but the wartime demand for these aircraft was to total more than 4,000.

The first US Army Air Corps order, placed during 1940, was for the supply of 11 aircraft under the designation C-45, for use as staff transports, these being generally similar to the civil Model B18S. Subsequent procurement covered 20 C-45As for use in a utility transport role, with interior and equipment changes being made in the 223 C-45Bs that followed. Some of these aircraft were supplied to the UK under Lend-Lease, being designated Expediter I in RAF service. The USAAF designations C-45C, C-45D and C-45E were applied respectively to two impressed B18S civil aircraft, two AT-7s completed for transport duties, and six AT-7Bs similarly modified. Major and final production version for the USAAF was the seven-seat C-45F, with a slightly longer nose and of which no fewer than 1,137 were built. Lend-Lease deliveries from the procurement served with the Royal Navy and RAF as Expediter Us, and with the Royal Canadian Air Force as Expediter Ills. All of the foregoing C-45 designations were changed to a new UC-45 category in January 1943.

In 1941, the Beech AT-7 Navigator was introduced to provide navigation training; this was equipped with three positions for trainee navigators, plus a dorsal astrodome. A total of 577 was built, being followed by six AT-7 As with float landing gear and a large ventral fin. Nine AT-7Bs, basically winterized AT-7s were built to USAAF order: five were supplied to the UK, one being used by Prince Bernard of the Netherlands during his wartime exile. Final version of the Navigator was the AT-7C with a different powerplant, production totalling 549.

Another version of the Model 18 appeared in the AT (advanced trainer) category during 1941. This was the AT-11 Kansan (originally named Kansas), procured by the USAAF as a bombing and gunnery trainer. It incorporated a small bomb bay, had small circular portholes in place of the standard rectangular cabin windows, a redesigned nose to provide a bomb aiming position, and two 7.62mm machine-guns, one in the nose, the other in a dorsal turret. Production to USAAF orders totalled 1,582; of these 36 were converted for navigation training as AT-11As. Twenty-four AT-11s ordered by the Netherlands for service in the Netherlands East Indies were, instead, taken on charge by the USAAF: they were delivered subsequently to the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School at Jackson, Mississippi, in early 1942.

UC-45

Last of the US Army Air Force's wartime versions of the Beech Model 18 were photographic reconnaissance F-2s, 14 civil Model B18S being purchased and converted with cabin-mounted mapping cameras and oxygen equipment. They were supplemented later by 13 F-2As with four cameras, converted from C-45As, and by 42 F-2Bs, which were conversions from UC-45Fs: these had additional camera ports in both sides of the fuselage. In June 1948, under a general revision of the USAF designation system, all of the surviving F-2 photo/reconnaissance aircraft were redesignated RC-45A. Similarly, AT-7, AT-7C and AT-11 s dropped their A prefix: at the same time a small number of drone-directors converted from UC-45Fs and given the designation CQ-3 became instead, DC-45Fs.

The US Navy and US Marine Corps also used the Model 18 extensively, to the extent of more than 1,500 examples. Initial procurement related to a version similar to the US Army's F-2, this being designated JRB-1, and followed by a JRB-2 transport, and JRB-3s and JRB-4s equivalent to the C-45B and UC-45F respectively. The designations SNB-1, SIMB-2 and SNB-3 were applied respectively to aircraft that were equivalent to the USAAF's AT-11, AT-7, and AT-7C. US Navy ambulance and photographic versions were the SNB-2H and SNB-2P respectively; the SNB-3Q was an electronic counter-measures trainer.

During 1951-2, in-service USAF UC-45E, T-7 and T-11 aircraft were re-manufactured to zero-time condition and modernised, emerging with the new designations C-45G and C-45H. The former had an autopilot and R-985-AN-3 engines, the latter no autopilot and R-985-AN-14B engines. At the same time, US Navy SNB-2s, SNB-2Cs, and SNB-2Ps were remanufactured under the designations SIMB-5 and SNB-5P. Later, with introduction of the tri-service unified designation scheme in 1962, in-service SNB aircraft were redesignated TC-45J and RC-45J respectively in the training and photographic roles.

With a return to peace, Beech resumed manufacture of the civil Model 18, and in 1953 introduced a new larger and improved version of the D18S. Known as the Super 18 (E18S), the prototype was flown for the first time on 10 December 1953. Structural improvements included external refinements to reduce drag, Geisse safety landing gear for cross-wind operations, the provision of. a separate flight deck, and improved soundproofing. Progressive improvements continued throughout the production of 754 Super 18s, the last examples of the final Model H18 version being built during 1969.

In September 1963 Beech introduced optional retractable tricycle landing gear which had been developed by Volpar Inc. of Los Angeles, California. This company also offered conversions of standard Beech 18s to Volpar Turbo 18 standard, with tricycle landing gear and TPE331 turboprop engines, and also the lengthened turboprop-powered 15-pas-senger Volpar Turboliner. Conversions offered by other manufacturers have included the nine-passenger Dumod I and 15-passenger Dumod Liner, offered by Dumod Corporation; and Pacific Airmotive Corporation's 10-passenger PAC Tradewind and turboprop-powered PAC Turbo Tradewind. Still available from Hamilton Aviation in late 1981 were the Hamilton Westwind II STD and Westwind III turboprop-powered conversion of 17-and eight-passenger capacity respectively.

3-View 
Beech Model 18A three-view drawing (992 x 682)


Specification 
 MODELBeech Super H18
 ENGINE2 x Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B radial piston engine, 336kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight4491 kg9901 lb
    Empty weight2651 kg5844 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan15.15 m50 ft 8 in
    Length10.73 m35 ft 2 in
    Height2.84 m9 ft 4 in
    Wing area33.51 m2360.70 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed354 km/h220 mph
    Cruise speed298 km/h185 mph
    Ceiling6525 m21400 ft
    Range3060 km1901 miles

Beech Model 18

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
Ted Moss, temo75=comcast.net, 07.11.2013

My first job in aviation (1972) was a mechanic for a civilian operation (Priority Air Dispatch, Tappahannock Virginia) hauling military explosives. We had three C-45's and three Piper Aztecs. Still remember installing the spar straps, 100 hour inspections etc. etc. Best aircraft Beechcraft ever built. It is worth a visit to Tullahoma Tennessee for a tour of the museum. My experience has led me from Regional Airlines, Corporate flight department, FBO, major airline and charter. By far the Twinbeech is still the love of my life...

rickharris392@live.com, 17.05.2013

I WORK ON BEECH 18 FOR EIGHT YEARS FOR MAIL OUTFIT IN SE MISSOURI,IT WAS GREAT,WE HAD 15 BEECH 18 MODELS D,E,G MODELS,WE HAULED MAIL AND FREIGHT.I MISS THE OLD BIRD

McCan, mccan=comcast.net, 28.04.2013

Flew "Army 29646" while I commanded the Third Corps Flight Section in 1968-9. This was Lt. Gen. Powell's aircraft to commute between Ft. Hood, TX and Ft. Sill, OK. where the artillery was kept. Didn't like the restrictions the Air Force demanded we "Lowly" Army types fly below 12,000ft!

Mauro, sx28=libero.it, 12.04.2013

What versions were used during more than 40 years in Italy? TIA

Bill Riddell, 11.07.2012

When serving in a Navy Utility Squadron (VU7 North Island)during the Korean War we had one SNB which was used primarily for "junkets" with occasional "training" flights thrown in. It was a fun airplane loved by all. Wish I had one today.

TONY PETRULIO, tpetrulio=gmail.com, 05.06.2012

Many fond memories. Late fifties to mid sixties. Hard to imagine the spar problems.

scottb60, scottb60=hotmail.com, 21.05.2012

The Queen Air was barely a departure, and the King-Air was pretty much the same. Why improve on perfection?

I was always a little leery of the bathtub wing bolts, but never had a problem. I flew Bonanzas, Barons, and King Airs and rode in an 18 once.

William S. Vaughn, poppabill=gmail.com, 21.05.2012

I flew SIC BE18S's in the mid-60s on nighttime "STAR" airmail routes between MAF and DAL about the time they were falling out of the sky because of spar failures. We were climbing out of Dallas when we hit some chop and there was a godawful "bang!" noise come from the center section. Don, my pilot, and I looked at each other with a plaintive "maybe now's a good time to kiss something or someone because this is it" look and held our breath. Obviously I'm still here and so is Don, so nothing happened but we sure had the mechs checking it out when we landed.

William S. Vaughn, poppabill=gmail.com, 21.05.2012

I flew SIC BE18S's in the mid-60s on nighttime "STAR" airmail routes between MAF and DAL about the time they were falling out of the sky because of spar failures. We were climbing out of Dallas when we hit some chop and there was a godawful "bang!" noise come from the center section. Don, my pilot, and I looked at each other with a plaintive "maybe now's a good time to kiss something or someone because this is it" look and held our breath. Obviously I'm still here and so is Don, so nothing happened but we sure had the mechs checking it out when we landed.

Mike Caughey, Mike=MikeCaughey.com, 05.11.2011

Stationed at NAS Lemoore, CA 1962-1965 AMD had 3 of these SNB-5's. Each had a distinct personality. Got to fly a couple of times. Flew to Alameda once and landed 5 times in one pass, (Pilot was getting checked out in model). I am gueessing he flunked, I hope so.
Not wonderful landing in crosswind.

Hal Schedler, halsched=surewest.net, 23.08.2011

I flew the C-45 at Smokey Hill AFB (Shilling), Base flight, while I served as Adjutant for Gen. Jim Wilson.....!!! I was a Lieutenant at the time and went on to fly the RC-121, at Otis, C-123. Saigon, C-47, DaNang, KC-135, Mather, etc. I also have 1000 hours in the B/A-26, Korea (K-8). I loved the C-45 and drool when I see one just sitting at the Museum at McClellan.

David Winer, david1winer=yahoo.com, 13.08.2011

In 1957 I had a love/hate relationship with the SNB (Super Navy Bomber). Recently trained as a fighter pilot and eager to fly the sleek jets, I landed in an outfit that had an SNB for running errands up and down the east coast. I was soon required to operate this ancient PROPELLER craft with a TAILWHEEL. Arrgh. After I got over the disappointment I became quite proficient with this plane. I actually enjoyed it and had numerous adventures. (Once I made a gunnery run on a lumbering Air Force DC3 (C45?). The victim-pilot feathered an engine in response to the "virtual" damage.)

Gene Dudzik, genedudzik78363=yahoo.com, 30.05.2011

As a Navy Parachute Rigger stationed at Navyside Andrews AFB, Washington DC, we had I think about forty SNB-1. They were used for proficiency flying. I drew flightskins in them and had a chance on a few occasions to fly some. All those NC-3 parachutes were hell to keep up with every 90 days. Great site!

Mike Cloutier, maurice=xmission.com, 17.05.2011

I flew airmail and freight in C-45's and D-18's for Buker Airways out of Springfield, Vt. I was based out of Portland Maine for the most part of my 11/2 years with Harold Buker flying nightly to LGA or JFK. Some of the most rewarding and memorable days of my life---in spite of the eight engine failures, catching fire three times, 20 degrees below outside and 18 below zero inside, frosted over windshields, along with flying 218 hours the first month I was there. (no maximums back then--- sleeping bag in the back of the plane). I do still cherish those days and the memories of all the guys I worked with. The best days of my life.

Roy W. Amburn Jr., royamburn321=gmail.com, 06.05.2011

My Dad flew in and out from Birch Lake Alaska (near Fairbanks). His version of the C45 had pontoons of
course. His job was to fly VIPs from Birch Lake to
verious (outback) lakes for sport hunting & fishing.
This was back in 1950 (give or take a yr. or two) I
was too young to remember much....but I do remember
that aircraft! I helped him tie it up to the dock
when he made a return trip.

Chuck Teeters, chuckteeters=att.net, 05.05.2011

When my family got up to seven, traded a K-35 for a Beech C18S N6047V Flew it for 6 years, mostly family vaciations to FL. Always flew it under 8500 lbs and only lost one engine, at night sanford ma. so no problem. Usually got down to 45 gal/hr. Sure would like to fly it again

Bob Blouin, Boblouin=yahoo.com, 28.04.2011

Flying D18's for Island Airlines Hawaii in the late 70's taught me that airplane is a classic!

E.G. HICKAM, everfre2=aol.com, 31.03.2011

I was pleasently surprised to here from one of the Parker"s of Parker Pen Company that was the original owner of my Beech D-18S LITTLE PRIVATE "aIRLINER" IS THERE ANYWHERE A PILOT WITH SOUL SO DEAD THAT A TWIN BEECH DOES NOTHING TO INSPIRE HIM? AFTER A TOTAL OF OVER 7500 HOURS IN THE AIR LOGGED IN EVERYTHING FROM A J-3, CLIPPED WING 85 HP CUB TO C-46'S AND C-123'S PLUS DIVERSE SHIPS SUCH AS A DE HAVILAND CARIBOU AND A P-51D. THIS IS STILL MY FAVORITE FLYER. IN SPITE OF THE SPAR STRAPS ETC.

Tim Olmsted, timolmsted=aol.com, 10.03.2011

I flew the mail in the Northeast and air freight for Tobey, Jim Dole and Tom Brennan. 2 hours shy of a 1,000 hours in them. Great flying bird, I still fly a tailwheel weekly

Vern Baisden, vmbmab=bellsouth.com, 01.03.2011

Flew Beech 18s on mail routes in the early 70s. Had over 5000 hrs in them. The models that I flew were C-45, D-18,
E-18 and G-18. had quite a few engine failures over the 6 years that i flew them. We used 50% power for cruise, speed at this setting was 140kts or 160 mph. Burned about 45 gallons per hour. Like all beechcraft they handled very nicely. Though, at the high gross weights that we flew at.
they were not a high performer in climb. I,d still like to fly one today, even in this, my eightieth year.

1-20 21-40 41-60

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