Beechcraft 18S N495F
The aircraft at the Malta Aviation Museum started life as 52-10958 presumably with the United States Air Force. The serial denotes that it was ordered as part of the Fiscal Year 1952 Budget, which means it entered service shortly afterwards. After military service, the registration N8176H was reserved for it but never used. It became N3114G and then N114G in June 1963 owned by David B. Stewart. N114G was operated by LAVCO (Libyan Aviation Company) from at least January 1965. It was operated later by SAGITTAIR and ZAPATA as an air taxi until grounded. It was probably re-registered N495F in the late 60's. At the end of the 1970's the aircraft found itself at a scrap yard in Birzebbugia. In the summer of 1996, Museum members towed the aircraft to Ta' Qali for eventual restoration.
This aircraft is currently awaiting restoration.
With the Model 17 single-engine Staggerwing well established, Beech began in 1935 the development of a six/eight-seat commercial transport identified as the Beech Model 18. The Model 18 is a low wing monoplane of all-metal construction, with a semi monocoque fuselage of light alloy, a cantilever tail unit incorporating twin endplate fins and rudders, and electrically retractable tailwheel landing gear. Float or ski landing gear was to become optional. Standard accommodation provided for two crew and six passengers and the Pratt & Whitney radial engines mounted in wing leading-edge nacelles.
The initial Model 18 was flown for the first time on 15 January 1937 - the type remaining in production for 32 years. The first United States Army Corps order, placed during 1940, was for the supply of 11 aircraft under the designation C-45, for use as staff transports. Subsequent procurement covered the utility transport, navigation training, advanced trainer, bomb aiming trainer and photographic reconnaissance roles. The U.S. Navy and Marines also used the Model 18 extensively, to the extent of more than 1,500 examples. Some of the hundreds of Model 18s built were supplied to the United Kingdom under Lend-Lease, being designated Expediter I, II and III in the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Post war, No.728 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm and Malta Communications & Target Towing Squadron operated Expediters from Malta - one aircraft being lost 80 miles East of the Island during a mail run. Model 18s from almost every Mediterranean country visited Malta with V.I.Ps, cargo or mail, at one time or another.
Over 9000 Beech 18s of all models built between 1937 and 1969, of which 2000 were built post-war. Wartime military production accounts for majority of Beech 18s built (approx. 5000). With a return to peace, Beech resumed manufacture of the type with structural improvements including external refinements to decrease drag and improved soundproofing. Although the market was flooded with surplus twins, Beech still managed to sell 754 of this last variant to worldwide operators - a clear indication of the type’s popularity and versatility.