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Sanders Aeronautics' Beechcraft Super H18


 

Home Base: Ione, CA
Model: Super H18
Wing Span:
47' 7"
Length: 35' 3"
Height: 9' 8"
Max Speed: 240 mph
Gross Weight: 9,900 lbs
Power Plant: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R985AN-14 "Wasp Jr.", 9 cylinders
Horsepower: 2 x 450

The Beech Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas designed the Beech 18 in 1936 for the small feeder airline market, and the prototype first flew less than a year later in January 1937. Initially, there was little interest amongst US airlines for the Beech 18, but this was not the case in Canada. The first foreign order for the aircraft came from Starratt Airways of Hudson, Ontario in December 1937 and was followed soon after by an order from Prairie Airways of Edmonton for a fleet of Beech 18s. The company continued to improve the aircraft's performance by developing models powered by several different types of engine.

Performance was key to Beech Aircraft gaining a USAAF contract for 150 aircraft in 1941. The order was the first of many and the company eventually built more than 5250 aircraft for the military. The Beech 18 trained pilots, navigators, bomb aimers and gunners as well as serving as a military transport. The USAAF operated four versions; the AT-7 Navigator, the AT-11 Kansan for bombing and gunnery training, the C-45 Expeditor as a light transport and the F-2 for aerial photography and mapping. During WW2, 90% of all USAAF navigators and bomb aimers were trained on AT-7s and AT-11s.

The last Beech 18 rolled out of the factory on November 26, 1969 was the Beechcraft Super H18 Model, a low-wing cantilever monoplane of all-metal construction powered by two Pratt and Whitney R-985AN-14B radial air-cooled engines providing a cruise speed of 220 miles per hour and a range of just over 1500 miles. The Beechcraft Super 18 carries a flight-crew of two and up to nine passengers in a separate cabin.

The needs of the Allied Air Forces in WWII and the Beech 18's continued popularity afterwards ensured it stayed in production for 32 years. In the 1950's Beech refurbished more than 2200 of the military versions for civilian use. When production ended in 1969, more than 7,000 Beech 18s had been built in 32 configurations.

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