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C-45 Expeditor - Castle Air Museum

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Beech C-45 Expeditor - Transport & Utility Variant

C-45 Expeditor Castle Air Museum

Photo taken of C45 Expeditor on display at Castle Air Museum.

During World War II, the Beech C-45 Expeditor was used as a transport (including VIP) and utility carrier; while some versions were used for gunnery and bombardier training AT-11 Kansan (USN SNB-1), and navigation AT-7 (USN SNB-2). Most versions of the aircraft were powered by two 450 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engines.

It was a military version of the commercial Beech 18S, "Twin Beech", and carried the designation C-45 in USAAF service, JRB in US Navy service and the British called it the Expeditor. First ordered by the USAAF in 1940, some also saw service in the RAF. As a transport, the C-45 accommodated 2 crew members and five to six passengers, with baggage compartments in the nose and behind the cabin. Some models could be fitted with twin Edo floats or skis.

AT-7 Navigator trainer

USAAF photo shows AT-7 with celestial navigation blister above the cabin

Navigational Trainer Variant
The Navigator, a variant designated AT-7 (Navy SNB-2), was used for training three to six navigational students at a time. It was outfitted with chart tables, and other navigational equipment, and had a ventral celestial dome, permitting students to take readings of the sun and stars.

Advanced students would learn pilotage (navigation by landmarks), dead reckoning, radio navigation, and celestial navigation. In the final stages of advanced training, the student put his new skills into practice in a training aircraft, completing at least 100 hours in the air before graduating.

Bombardier & Gunnery Trainer Variant

AT-11 Kansan trainers with bombardier nose

USAAF photo shows advanced bombardier training in1943 in AT-11s. Note glazed bombardier nose.

The AT-11 Kansan, used for bombardier and gunnery training, was equipped with a bombardier nose, and dorsal and nose machine guns.

According to museum information, the aircraft on display at Castle Air Museum was a US Navy C-45 which served at the San Diego Naval Air Station. "In 1951 it was part of a program to rebuild AT-7/AT-11/SNB aircraft to the C-45 configuration. After military service, it was used as a civilian aircraft by the Department of Agriculture."

WWII military variants based on the commercial Model 18 Twin Beech aircraft

Use USAAF designation USN designation RAF & Royal Navy
Transport and utility C-45 Expeditor JRB Expeditor
Bombardier &
gunnery training
AT-11 Kansan

SNB-1 Kansan

Navigational training AT-7 Navigator SNB-2 Navigator  




* C-45 Expeditor facts

Category Transport, utility, trainer
Manufacturer Beech Aircraft Company
Introduced 1937
Used in WWII

United States Army Air Force
United States Navy
Royal Air force
Number built
More than 9,000 (all variants)
Max. speed 220 mph
Altitude 26,000 feet service ceiling
Range 1,200 miles
* Numbers are approximate