Project Description





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.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots
  • Capacity: 6 passengers
  • Length: 34 ft 2 in
  • Wingspan: 47 ft 8 in
  • Height: 9 ft 8 in
  • Wing area: 349 ft²
  • Empty weight: 6,175 lb
  • Loaded weight: 7,500 lb
  • Max. takeoff weight: 8,727 lb
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 “Wasp Junior” radial engines, 450 hp each


  • Maximum speed: 225 mph (195 knots)
  • Range: 1,200 mi (1,000 NM) at 160 mph
  • Service ceiling: 26,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 1,850 ft/min