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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The "Van Nuys Collection" #2..."The Twin Beechcraft Model 18"

 
Intact but still grounded? Beech Model 18
Kind of a cool angle being that it was called "the Twin" for some reason and showing the twin tails from behind seemed appropriate. On some trips to the airport I would bring a fisherman's folding seat along with some pens, pencils and the sketchbook. I always felt I was intruding upon the sanctity of the airport and its personnel to bring anything more. I didn't wanna attract anymore attention than necessary, but for this sketch, I sat on the ground. I remember thinking the angle where the weeds actually obscure more of the plane was even more interesting, but I would have had to lay on my stomach and sketch and that would surely attract the attention of some one unwanted official.

The Model 18 was designed way back in the late thirties and went through many variations to accommodate military as well as commercial needs. From light transport to trainer, from coastal reconnaissance to bomber to airline, the Model 18 serve the needs of that era very well. Some later changes included turbo prop engines and a reconfigured nose to accommodate a nose landing gear, but the main change involved stress fractures that were expensive to repair.

Apparently, where the wing attaches to the main wing spar, there was metal fatigue especially where the engine mounted wheels were attached. Over the years, hard landings, ground loops and weathering took its toll. Although there are many still flying as vintage aircraft, many of the planes that were repaired are still flying passengers or being used by sky divers. Unfortunately, for some private owners, the repairs enforced by the FAA weren't worth the expense, so many were left out to pasture. The plane I sketched seemed intact and flyable, but sitting in this field away from the main runways, told me its fate was sealed.