Photo: Drew Naylor
TC-45H Expeditor “Hokie Pokie”
Restored to flying condition
The C-45 Expeditor was the military versin of the Beechcraft 18. First used as a civil aircraft, it was adopted by the military with little modification and used to transport officers or small amounts of cargo from base to base. Other military models of the “Twin Beech” included the F-2 photographic reconnaissance version, the AT-7 navigation trainer, and the AT-11 bombardier trainer – which sported a radically redesigned plexiglas nose for practicing with the Norden Bombsight. The Navy used their JRB and SNB models for similar roles.
After the war, C-45s served as “Bugsmashers” – allowing desk-bound officers to get just enough hours in the air to earn their flight pay. Many were later sold to civilian owners and became the first wave of the new trend of private business aircraft.
The TC-45H on display was originally delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) on 5 February 1945 as a C-45F. It served until 1951, when it was returned to Beechcraft for remanufacture. During the remanufacture process the aircraft was almost entirely rebuilt, with only the outer wings, tail, and a few fuselage parts being reused. In 1952, it was returned to what had by then become the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and this time served until it was placed in storage in 1959.
The aircraft was initially purchased from the military in September 1960 by Busby’s Bowling Lanes of Odessa, Texas for just over $4,190. Over the years it had a number of upgrades installed, including an airstair door, two piece windshield, and increased max takeoff weight kit with new wingtips. It had a number of different owners, but most importantly for the museum, it was owned by Virginia Tech in the late 1960s. The airplane was purchased for the museum in 2014 with the assistance of Stan Cohen, a World War II veteran and Virginia Tech graduate.
Serial Number: 51-11529 | Tail: N7826L
January 15, 1937
1976 (US. Army)
Crew: Pilot, Co-Pilot, 4 passengers
Engines: Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B Wasp Junior 9 cylinder air cooled radial engine
Max Speed: 222 mph
Wingspan: 47 ft, 8 in
Length: 34 ft, 2 in
Height: 9 ft, 2 in
Max Weight: 9,800 lbs
Service Ceiling: 18,200 ft
Max Range: 1,325 miles
Fuel Capacity: 252 gallons