Images by M.Uhlman
Expeditor-Latest GMAM Restoration Project
by Malcolm Uhlman
On November 25th, the Greenwood Military Aviation Museum (GMAM) received an early Christmas present, when an RCAF C-17 Globe Master delivered a long-anticipated Beechcraft twin-engine C-45 Expeditor! Acquired from the Reynolds Heritage Preservation Foundation of Wetaskiwin, AB, this represents the latest restoration project to be undertaken by Museum volunteers, who are currently restoring a Bolingbroke/Blenheim, a Piasecki/Vertol H-44 helicopter and reconfiguring the Museum’s WWII Lancaster aircraft. After completion of all restorations, several years hence, this will swell the number of aircraft on display at the Museum to FOURTEEN types flown from Greenwood from 1942 to the present day.
Over 9,000 Beech-18's were produced, making it one of the world's most widely used light aircraft. Sold worldwide as a civilian executive, utility, cargo aircraft, and passenger airliner with tailwheels, nosewheels, skis and floats, close to 400 tail wheel, military C-45 versions were purchased by the RCAF during and after World War II. With the Avro Anson, which the Expeditor gradually replaced, the aircraft was used as an advanced multi-engine trainer for pilots and as a basic trainer for navigators and radio officers, while still providing communications and VIP transport duties. This aircraft served the RCAF/Canadian Armed Forces for more than three decades.
Built in Wichita, Kansas by the Beechcraft Corporation, the aircraft was known by its pilots as the "Beech 18", the "Bug Smasher", the "Exploder", the "Kansas Kangaroo", and the "Wichita Wiggler". The latter two were so-named because the unique main landing gear were not connected directly to the fuselage, but by scissor links that allowed the individual wheels to “walk” separately causing the aircraft to wander and often to catapult the aircraft back into the air if landed too roughly. Other than that, the aircraft was extremely reliable and sturdy and often called a miniature C-47 for its longevity. Like the C-47, many are still flying today all over the world.