Air & Space Airshow Spotter's Guide
You know how to tell a Viper from a Hornet, but does your airshow-newbie friend? Here are recognition tips, bite-size histories, specs and info links for the airplanes most likely to appear at airshows this year.
- By airspacemag.com
- AirSpaceMag.com, April 01, 2012
Illustrations by Harry Whitver
How to recognize: Twin piston engines, tapering flat-top fuselage and dolphin nose, twin vertical tails connected by a broad elevator, tubular steel fuselage, tail-dragging landing gear.
Claim to fame at airshows: In a black and crimson Beech 18, Matt Younkin moves from gentle barrel rolls into screaming dives and fluid yet precise loops. At some shows, a night display with strobe lights turns the former corporate transport into a flaming phantom.
Claim to fame in service: The Beechcraft 18 has earned a reputation as one of the most versatile and adaptable airframes and one of the longest production runs, with more than 9,000 copies produced from 1937 to 1969.
Mission: The basic Beech 18 has been adapted as a military trainer and called the C45; served as a corporate executive transport; light cargo hauler; ski plane; airline feeder; and air ambulance, among many other roles.
Performance and specifications: Models range from the Super H18with a cruising speed of up to 191 kts and a rate of climb of 1,400 ft/min, to the Turboliner that cruises at 243 kts and climbs at 1,520 ft/min. Its basic empty weight is about 5,845 pounds and its service ceiling 24,000 ft. With its maximum payload, two-man crew and up to nine passengers the Beech 18 can fly for up to 300 nm.
Main variants: Models C through H for civilian use, C45 and variants for military use, and a number of versions with more powerful engines, reinforcements for special missions, or custom interiors whether for luxury or for use in medical evacuation.
Matt Younkin Air Shows
National Air and Space Museum