Aircraft Type
Civil Aviation Aircraft

HISTORY OF THE BEECHCRAFT 18

The Beechcraft Expeditor was designed by Walter Beech as a commercial aircraft in 1936 and is one of the most successful aircraft designs in aviation history! During the Second World War it was used as a military transport and as a trainer. It remained in production until 1969 as a popular executive and civilian transport plane. It operated in Canada’s north, both on wheels and on floats.

Prairie Airways of Moose Jaw was the world’s first commercial operator of the Beech 18, taking delivery of CF-BKN, a Jacob’s powered version, in July 1938.

The post-war RCAF had a total of 394 used as trainers for pilots and navigators as well as "hack" light transports. The Expeditor, with its "walking undercarriage", had the reputation of not being the easiest aircraft to land. Some of the endearing names the pilots used for the Beech were "Bug Smasher", the "Wichita Vibrator", and the "Exploder".

OUR AIRCRAFT

Our Expeditor CF-GXC (#Q/E 92-074) was acquired by the Canadian Department of Transport in 1954 and was put to a variety of uses by them until its retirement in 1967. Eventually this aircraft was acquired by the museum and restored to its original configuration through the financial assistance of the Department of Transport regional office in Edmonton and the Calgary Airport Authority.

FAST FACTS

  • The Beech 18 had the longest continuous production run in aviation history: 33 years, from 1936 to 1969!
  • Over 9000 were built in 32 variations.
  • Over 5000 were built during the Second World War alone: for use as navigation and bombardier trainers.
  • The “Walking Undercarriage” highlights the extra movement laterally in the main gear designed to absorb the impact of landing. A less than perfect landing meant your wheels “walked” down the runway.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Wingspan of 14.06 metres (47ft 7in) 
  • Height of 2.8 metres (9ft 2in)
  • Length of 10.04 metres (34ft 2in)
  • Maximum speed of 370km/h (230mph)
  • Rate of climb of 1850 ft/min