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Crew Chief:  Jim Bernethy

The prototype Beech Model 18 was flown for the first time in 1937.  First acquired by the Army in 1940, eventually over 4,000 were built for the U.S. Army Air Force and over 1,500 for the U.S. Navy.  The Air Corps ordered eleven Beech Model B18S aircraft in late 1939 and designated them C-45. The planes were essentially identical to the civilian version of the aircraft and used by the Army for light transport, staff and liaison missions.

At the outbreak of the war, the Army Air Corps ordered the C-45 into production. Work also began on a variant specifically for training pilots, bombardiers and navigators. The effort resulted in the Army AT-7, AT-11, the Navy SNB,and SNB-2 navigation trainers. In the AT-11 version, bomb bay doors, a glass nose and an upper gun turret were added for bombing and gunnery training. In the AT-7 version (and Navy SBN), up to three astrolobes (plexi-glass domes) in the roof the cabin were added, with matching stations inside the cabin for navigational training. There was even, eventually, an experimental XA-38 attack version with a huge cannon in the nose, although it never went into production.

After the end of WWII, some C-45s were declared surplus and sold on the civilian market; however, large numbers of C-45’s were kept and used as light transport, training and liaison aircraft. In 1951, the Air Force authorized a large upgrade program for a large number of C-45, AT-7 and AT-11 aircraft, because of the extensive modifications; all were        re-designated as C-45G or C-45H and assigned new 1951 serial numbers. During the major overhaul process, the planes were completely torn down and inspected. Worn and damaged parts were replaced along with several planned upgrades. The center wing section was replaced with a new and stronger assembly. The landing gear was replaced with a stronger version. The propellers were replaced by constant speed, feathering models. The instruments were replaced and in many cases, upgraded to more modern versions. Finally, an autopilot system was added. A total of 372 aircraft were converted and continued to serve the USAF throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s.

 In 1951 a separate, but similar program converted 96 C-45s to navigation trainers. These aircraft had most of the same upgrades as the C-45Gs and also had an interior upgrade to accommodate a pilot, co-pilot/navigator instructor and three navigator students. These aircraft were designated as TC-45G.

The C-45 flew in US Air Force service until 1963, the US Navy retired their last SNB in 1972 while the US Army flew their C-45s through 1976.

  • MANUFACTURER:  Beech Aircraft Corporation

  • TYPE:  Utility transport

  • POWER: Two Pratt & Whitney R-987-AN-14B w/ 450 shp ea

  • DIMENSIONS: Span- 47 ft. 8 in. Length- 34 ft. 8 in. Height- 9 ft. 2 in.

  • WEIGHT:  Empty- 5680 lbs, Gross- 8000 lbs, Max- 9900 lbs

  • MAXIMUM PAYLOAD:  3,000 lbs, or 6 passengers

  • SPEED:  Maximum: 234 mph, Cruising: 197 mph. 

  • RANGE: 1,140 miles

  • CEILING:  20,000 ft.; Climb: 1,490 ft per minute

  • Armament:  C-45H: none; (AT-11: 2x.30 Browning Machine Guns in Turret).

  • PRODUCTION TOTALS:  (USAF, all models) 1892  804 of which rebuilt into C-45G & C-45H models.

  • UNIT COST:  $57,838

  • CREW: C-45: Two (pilot and co-pilot) (AT-11: 2 crew, 4 students).

  • McCHORD BASED UNITS:  Various units (1940’s-1960’s) including the USAAF Training Command, Military Air Transportation Service, Air Rescue Service  and the Air Force Reserve

UC-45J/JRB-5 BuNo.89484

The McChord Museums BeechC-45 Expeditor served its military career in U.S. Navy as a utility transport with the JRB-5 designation(BuNo.89484). Before coming to McChord in December of 2007, the aircraft was on display for many years in Fargo, North Dakota. After some restoration was accomplished, the aircraft was repainted as C-45H 52-10613, an aircraft that served with the 62d Troop Carrier Wing as anAT-11, and after conversion to a C-45H, would later serve with the McChord’s 25th Air Division’s 326th Fighter Group at Paine Field, WA. After the aircrafts(S/N52-10613) retirement in 1959 the C-45 served with the U.S. Forest Service & U.S. Dept of Agriculture. C-45 S/N 52-10613 currently flying in civilian hands as the “Beech Baby”.  

(Currently collecting data for BuNo. 89848 - below is unit history data for C-45H S/N 52-10613) 
Manufactured In 1943 at Beech Aircraft. Wichita.  

Accepted by USAAF 1 March 1944 (S/N 43-10374)

October 1944 

 2528th Air Base Group Midland Army Air Field, TX (Air Training Command)

March 1945
   2537th Air Base Group, Perrin Fld, TX (Air Training Command) 
June 1946 
2002nd Air Base Group, Stewart Army Air Field, GA (Air Training Command) 
September 1946 
 4163rd Air Base Group Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (Air Defense Command) 
July 1947 
315th Air Base Group Godman Field, KY (Air Defense Command) 
October 1947 
4163rd Base Air Base Group Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (Air Training Command) 
December 1948 
2240th Air Force Reserve Training Center Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (AFRES)
August 1949 
2757th Air Base Squadron Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (Air Materiel Command) 
December 1949 
2240th Air Force Reserve Training Center Cleveland Municipal Airport, OH (AFRES) 
October 1950 
433rd Troop Carrier Wing, Medium Greenville AFB, SC (Tactical Air Command) 
July 1951 
375th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium Greenville AFB, SC (Tactical Air Command) 
December 1951 
62nd Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy McChord AFB, WA (TAC) 
April 1952 
62nd Troop Carrier Wing, Heavy Larson AFB, WA (TAC)  
January - October 1953

Remanufactured by Beech Aircraft and delivered to USAF as C-45H S/N 52-10613

October 1953 
HQ, Western Air Defense Force Hamilton AFB, CA (Air Defense Command) 
March 1955 
HQ, 27th Air Division Norton AFB, California (Air Defense Command) 
September 1956 
326th Fighter Group – 25th AD, Paine AFB, WA (Air Defense Command)  
July 1957 
326th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 25th AD, Paine AFB, WA (ADC)
July 1958 
414th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Oxnard AFB, CA (ADC) 
December 1958 
Transferred to Davis-Monthan AFB. Arizona, aircraft declared as excess. 
January 1959 
Aircraft dropped from USAF Inventory. 
Date Unknown 
U.S. Forest Service
Date Unknown 
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Acquired by The Heartland  Museum  of  Military  Vehicles Lexington, NE
1989 - 1990 
Restored by the Commemorative Air Force
1990 - Present 
Flying as the “Beech Baby"
Website provided and maintained by:
The McChord Air Museum Foundation
P.O. Box 4205
McChord AFB, WA. 98438-0205
e-mail - mamfound@mcchordairmuseum.org