Beechcraft Model 18
Role: Trainer and Utility Aircraft
National Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corporation
First Flight: 1937
Primary User: United States Army Air Forces, US Navy, Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force
Number Built: 9,000+
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 saw 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, 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 seeding, 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 2 in (10.41 m)
- Wingspan: 47 ft 8 in (14.53 m)
- Height: 9 ft 8 in (2.95 m)
- Wing area: 349 ft² (32.4 m²)
- Empty weight: 6,175 lb (2,800 kg)
- Loaded weight: 7,500 lb (3,400 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 8,727 lb (3,959 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 “Wasp Junior” radial engines, 450 hp (336 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 225 mph (195 knots, 360 km/h)
- Range: 1,200 mi (1,000 NM, 1,900 km) at 160 mph (260 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 26,000 ft (7,930 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,850 ft/min (9.4 m/s)