Drawing - Paul Matt - Beechcraft D-18S
The Beechcraft Model 18 (Twin Beech) is a 6- to 11-seat, twin-engine, low-wing, tailwheel aircraft. It was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. It was produced for over 32 years, from 1937 to November 1969. Over 9,000 were built. Beechcraft sold it 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, 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. It was even used a light bomber by China. Note that over 90% of USAAF bombardiers and navigators trained in these aircraft.
In its civilian role, the Beech 18 has been used a business aircraft, for 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, for an engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are privately owned around the world, with 240 in the USA still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in August 2017.
Beechcraft ended production of the model 18 in 1970, with a final Model H18 going to Japan Airlines. Through the years, 32 variations of the basic design have flown, with over 200 improvement modification kits employed on it. In total almost 8,000 aircraft were built. In one case, the aircraft was modified to a triple tail, tri-gear, humpbacked configuration and appeared similar to a miniature Lockheed Constellation. Another distinctive conversion was carried out by PacAero as the Tradewind. This version featured a lengthened nose to accommodate the tricycle nosewheel, and the Model 18's twin tailfins were replaced by a single fin.
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 6 passengers
- Length: 34 ft 2 in. (10.41 m)
- Wingspan: 47 ft 8 in. (14.53 m)
- Height: 9 ft 8 in. (2.95 m)
- Wing area: 349 ft2 (32.4 m2)
- Empty weight: 6,175 lb (2,800 kg)
- Loaded weight: 7,500 lb (3,400 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 8,727 lb (3,959 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1 Wasp Junior radial engines, 450 hp (336 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 225 mph (195 knots, 360 km/h)
- Range: 1,200 mi (1,000 NM, 1,900 km) at 160 mph (260 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 26,000 ft (7,930 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,850 ft/min (9.4 m/s)