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