DescriptionThe Beechcraft Model 18 is a 6- to 11-seat, twin-engined, low-wing, tailwheel light aircraft manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas.
The Beechcraft Model 18 (or "Twin Beech", as it is also known), has been 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.
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.
The design was mainly conventional for the time, including twin radial engines, all-metal semimonocoque construction with fabric-covered control surfaces, and tailwheel undercarriage. Less conventional was the twin-tailfin configuration. The Model 18 can be mistaken for the larger Lockheed Electra series of airliners, which closely resemble it. Early production aircraft were powered either by two 330-hp (250-kW) Jacobs L-6s or 350-hp (260-kW) Wright R-760Es. The 450-hp (336-kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 became the definitive engine from the prewar C18S onwards. The Beech 18 prototype first flew on January 15, 1937.
For more details of the development and design and operational history of the Twin Beech, as well as its numerous factory variants, and many third party conversions such as the Hamilton Westwind and Volper Turboliner, click here.
The specifications below from Janes Fighting Aircraft of World War II are for the UC-45 Expeditor variant.
- Crew: 2 pilots Capacity: 6 passengers
- 34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)
- 47 ft 8 in (14.53 m)
- 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
- Wing Area:
- 349 sq ft (32.4 sq m)
- Empty Weight:
- 5,420 lb (2,458 kg)
- Gross weight: 7,500 lb (3,402 kg)
- 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)
- 1,200 mi (1,900 km, 1,000 nmi) at 160 mph (260 km/h; 140 kn) and 5,000 ft (1,500 m)
- Rate of Climb:
- 1,850 ft/min (9.4 m/s)
- Service Ceiling:
- 26,000 ft (7,900 m)