The versatile C-45 family of transport and trainer aircraft began life in 1937 as the Beechcraft Model 18 light twin. The Model 18s were widely accepted by commercial aviation operators as a good economical short haul transport prior to the war. The Army Air Corps saw its commercial success and ordered 11 aircraft prior to the beginning of World War II.
At the outbreak of the war, the Army Air Corps ordered the C-45 into production. Although used primarily as a transport aircraft, the C-45 was also produced in the AT-7 navigational training, AT-11 bombardier/gunnery training and the F-2 photo reconnaissance trainer versions. By the end of the war, Beech had built 4,526 examples of the C-45 and its variants.
The Travis Heritage Center has an example of the C-45H and the AT-11B bombardier/gunnery trainer variant.
Beechcraft built 432 C-45 'H' models of the "Expeditor" at their Wichita, Kansas production line. Our C-45H was built after the war, and was accepted by the United States Air Force on August 16, 1954. She was immediately assigned to the 191st Fighter Bomber Squadron of the Utah Air National Guard as a transport aircraft. In May of 1958, she was transferred to the 151st Consolidated Logistics Maintenance Squadron, also with the Utah Air National Guard. She served with this unit until August 1960, when she was flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, AZ., for storage. In February of 1963, our C-45H was dropped from the Air Force inventory and sold to a civilian operator. The C-45H has been restored to mid-1950's United States Air Force markings by the Heritage Center volunteers.
Video narration by Dr. David G. Styles, PhD
Video produced by Kim Bolan
Information derived from “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico copyright Travis AFB Historical Society/Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation. This book is available from the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum GIFT SHOP located in the Travis Heritage Center.