The Beechcraft Model 18, or “Twin Beech” as it is better known, is a 6–11 seat, twin-engine, low-wing, tail wheel aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. The aircraft at the museum saw military service during and after World War II in a number of versions, including the U.S. Army Air Forces C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan; and for the U.S. Navy, UC-45J Navigator and the SNB-1 Kansan. The museum’s UC-45J was built for the U.S. Navy as an SNB-2, rebuilt as an SNB-5 in 1952 and re-designated UC-45J in 1962. It carried the U.S. Navy BuNo 67161. Expeditors were tested at Edwards AFB in the late-1940s and served here as a support aircraft in the early-1950s.
Our aircraft had been restored some time back but has now suffered from years of exposure in the harsh Mojave Desert. Much of the fabric covering has dried and fallen off, while the silver paint has faded to where the primer is now exposed. Restoration volunteers for the Flight Test Museum will remove the remaining fabric covering and install aluminum sheeting in place of the fabric. They will then prepare the surface of the aircraft to be repainted in silver.
Of course, your help is once again needed to cover these cost. Once the work is completed it is our hope that this aircraft will not remain outside very much longer until the new museum is built outside the West Gate of Edwards AFB.
The Flight Test Historical Foundation is a private organization. The FTHF is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no government status.