U.S. Navy SNB-5, JRB-6, RC-45J, UC-45J
Twin Beech Airplane Pictures and Information

 
 
   

Last revised 2/26/13

 


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The U.S. Navy SNB-5 series were all remanufactured from earlier "C" model aircraft to the "D" configuration, i.e. new fuselage, center section, landing gear, long nacelles and higher gross weight. Unlike the USAF C-45G and H's, which were issued a new Beech Serial Number (sn) and military serial number, they retained their original identity. These are posted by their Beech Serial Number, which is an altogether different sequence then the order of their BuNo or the order in which they were converted from their original "C" model to the SNB-5.

 
  Here's a few details on this series (Parmerter p228-241 - - you gotta buy the book!)  
  * The 85 JRB-6 aircraft were given the original C-series landing gear when they were remanufactured.  
  * In 1962 the SNB-5 was redesignated the TC-45J (Trainer), and in 1964 the TC-45J was redesignated the UC-45J (Utility)  
  * In 1962 the SNB-5P photo ship became the RC-45J (Reconnaissance)  
 

My intention is to include a variety of aircraft to show the many ways in which the Twin Beech has been used over the years. Some are pretty, others ugly. Some will make you happy, others sad.
Click on the photos to enlarge them, and on the links.

 
 

Beech sn 434, BuNo 09771, SNB-5P, RC-45J, ex NC1040
A slide and photo from my collection

"Old Faithful" was built as Beech 18S cn 434, NC1040, and was "impressed" by the Navy to become JRB-1 or -2, BuNo 09771. In 1953 it was remanufactured as an SNB-5P, and would have been redesignated a RC-45J in 1962. Here is an official 1962 photo showing it as a U.S. Marines, Quantico aircraft.

Beech SNB-5P 09771 aircraft photo

 
 

The SNB-5P was used for aerial photography and for training in such. When 09771 was put on display at the Naval Aviation Museum at Pensacola in 1972, it was the oldest active aircraft in the Navy Inventory. If you click on the photos there (two stages) you will see the camera hatches on the belly. (See Parmerter p235)

 
 

Beech sn 3211, N12718, SNB-5, UC-45J BuNo 39750
At Tullahoma Regional Airport, KTHA, Tullahoma, TN, Oct. 2005

Airplanes like this give new meaning to the word "polish!" I'll bet "Naval Air Station Jacksonville" never had one like this! The ladder for "Dewey's Ride" takes you into a plush cabin, and the door to the baggage area or potty room is standing open. Looking forward - - and I doubt that the Navy had very many like this!

Twin Beech SNB N12718 photo

 
 

Nice panel there, with blend of the old and the new (Okay, pre-"Garmin"), and then a closeup of the lower console. Finally, looking back as we head out. Per Parmerter p230, the SNB's were built up from earlier C-series aircraft by using some of their parts and including a new D-18 fuselage, center section and landing gear. According to Baugher, sn 3211 would have been AT-11 42-36831. BuNo 39750 was obviously at ease here sitting between two "Supers."

 
  Twin Beech Hamilton Turboliner N10AS photo

Beech sn 3596, HK-1111, N10AS, SNB-5, TC-45J BuNo 39904

Slides: R, Nov. 1981, John Kimberley. L, Dec. 1983, N. Raith

When is a Twin Beech no longer a Twin Beech? And tell me one other airplane that has been so radically modified and still performed as well as the Twin Beech!

Beech 18 Hamilton Turboliner HK-1111 aircraft photo  
 

3596 was the first of seven Hamilton Turboliners, all built from Navy Twin Beechs that were extended both ahead of and behind the wing. The raised front cabin window on the Hamilton aircraft, along with the top-hinged cockpit door with skylight, distinguish them from the Volpar version. These are high cabin (same as Supers), Garrett AiResearch powered aircraft. This one started life with Ortner Air Service, in Wakeman, OH in 1968; served with Aerolineas Especiales de Columbia (AE Columbia) from 1980-82 as HK-1111, and then back to N10AS with Kalitta until the end. It had an interesting event in Dec. 1972 and I remember Karl and I looking at it at Cleveland and drooling over such a Twin Beech. It was totaled in Nov. 1987 from fuel exhaustion. Quite a machine they were!

 
 

USDA Twin Beech N40083

Beech sn 3679, N40083, SNB-5, UC-45J BuNo 39947
A Dec. 1976 slide, probably in the Arizona or Texas desert.

These were Navy surplus UC-45Js that were picked up by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). They apparently got them for possible future use but most were never operated. N40083 was registered in July 1974 and cancelled in Nov. 1977. On the side there it says "NFO Trainer, Built 1943." What is a NFO Trainer? Here's a list of Twin Beechs they had gotten for possible future use.

 
 

Hamilton Westwind III N222EL, N8795, HK-1296

Beech sn 3818, N222EL, SNB-5 BuNo 51028, ex HK-1296, N8795
A Sept. 1985 slide in Atlanta, by Flightleader

Sort of sad here after an obvious mishap, but this P&W PT-6A powered Hamilton Westwind III was looking much happier in this 1979 shot in Tucson when being operated as HK-1296 for A.E. Columbia. I couldn't find an NTSB accident report on it, but it was parted out by K&K Aircraft in 1996.

 

Beech scn 3829, N9231, SNB-5, UC-45J BuNo 51039
A Sept. 1984 slide by Russell Brown

Kalitta's Garrett AiResearch powered Hamilton Turboliner N9231 (Parmerter p364), hardly what you would think of as an SNB-5 or UC-45J! After several landing gear related mishaps, N9231 was destroyed in Oct. 1987 when the pilot took off with the tail stand attached and a bad CG, and stalled and crashed while returning to the airport.

Hamilton Turboliner N9231, Twin Beech

 

Beech sn 4215, N9196, SNB-5P, RC-45J BuNo 039196
A Sept. 1978 slide at Kenosha, WI

Note the removable photo panel in the cabin door. Many USAF and Navy surplus Twin Beechs ended up in A&P schools around the country. Some served well as training aids and more than a few languished like N9196. The rotting Bamboo Bomber beside it is probably little comfort. It is currently registered in IL and hopefully has a better life!

Twin Beecn N9196, Kenosha, WI

 

Hamilton Turboliner HB-GGA, N8486, N706M

Beech sn 4251, HB-GGA, SNB-5, TC-45J BuNo 12360, ex N4846, later N706M
A Jan. 1978 slide, probably in Switzerland

Another Hamilton Turboliner, Golf Golf Alpha was operated in Saudi Arabia and Sudan by Ciba Pilatus Aerial spraying. Maybe it had gotten used to warmer weather and they were protecting it from the snow here. It was later operated as N706M (10-87 AirPix slide) and was destroyed in Dec. 1992 due to loss of elevator control after improper maintenance.

 

Beech sn 4437, N250RM, JRB-6 BuNo 39796, ex N72405, N156AB, N240MM
A Jan. 2000 slide at St. James City, FL

A beautiful PAC (Pacific Aero Corp) Tradewind Twin Beech for Cove Systems' eCommerce Express. What a sleek machine! It was exported to Haiti in 2010 and deregistered. See my PAC Tradewind brochure. (The JRB-6's were not quite like the SNB-5's, as they had the old C-series landing gear.)

PAC Aero Twin Beech N250RM, N72504

  Hamilton Turboliner HB-GEG photo, Twin Beech

Beech sn 4645, HB-GEG, SNB-5 TC-45J BuNo 39226, ex N3765, N28471, later ZS-PRA
Slide, at LeBourget Airport, France, 1970

A lousy photo but the best I have! It was loaded with passengers, and Parmerter says (p364) it made daily flights from Lebourget Airport, France, to Geneva, Switzerland. It crashed and burned in South Africa, in Sept. 1972.

 
  BE-18 Twin Beech N49265, SNB-5 photos

Beech sn 4784, N49265, SNB-5 UC-45J BuNo 39265
at Birchwood Airport, PABV, Birchwood, AK, July 2004

SoNoran Beauty is SNB-5 39265 and is about as untouched as you can get including the fabric control surfaces, the stock tail gear, ARN-7 ADF loop, small entrance door and more.

 
  Hamilton Turboliner crash, N4847

Hamilton Turboliner N4847, Finn Creek, Alaska

Beech sn 5495, N4847, SNB-5 TC-45J BuNo 39282, ex N82FA, later N704M
Two photos from my collection

Hamilton Turboliner N4847, Finn Creek, Alaska, January 1972

 
 

Al Stoltzfus was my DC-3 copilot when we were spraying Gypsy Moth in New York in 1970, and sent my father these photos in 1972. The accident report is here. Yep, Finn Creek, Alaska; wind 20 gusting to 35; less than 1-mile visibility with blowing snow; on an unimproved ice strip with snow drifts! The photo on the right was about a month after the accident. It was -45F! Al flew in Alaska for several years even before coming down to fly the DC-3. He flew Twin Otters and Hercs in that environment, and then died in a mobile home fire. This Beech was destroyed in Dec. 1983 in a weather related cargo flight.

 
  Army Twin Beech Volpar 51312

Beech sn 5712, N45N, SNB-5, UC-45J BuNo 51312,
U.S. Army 51312
Two slides as detailed

This is one of seven UC-45J's that the Army got from the Navy and converted to high gross and Volpar tri-gears. (Parmerter p239)

Army Volpar Twin Beech, N45N  
 

So - - is it Army or Navy? Well, it bears a Navy BuNo so we'll put it with USN aircraft! Interestingly, it was FAA registered under sn 43-51312, which is actually a Lockheed P-38L! Obviously someone didn't know what to do with that Navy serial number on an Army airplane so they did their best, even if it was wrong! It has a crew door up front, but only the round top, bottom hinged passenger door.

I'm bothered by the fact that the Aug. 1981 (GB Aircraft Slides) photo on the left at Davis Monthan shows MASDC ID ZA042, but the June 1987 shot on the right (by John Kimberley) shows CY003. There's a June 2001 photo of N45N here as a taildragger. Parmerter says (p238) that the Volpar main gears were kept, but moved forward. It was written off at Mayo, Canada, in Sept. 2001.

 
 

Beech sn 5723, N15280, BuNo 51318, SNB-5, UC-45J
A slide, at Titusville, FL March 1981

With the original cabin door but by now only a once-sharp paint job! This sort of thing was a fairly common sight in the 1980's and 90's as Twin Beechs began to fade. The registration expired and was cancelled in 2011. You might be drinking your pop out of a can that was once part of this bird. Drink with reverence.

SNB Twin Beech N15280 airplane photo

 
 

Mystery SNB-5 Twin Beech at Marana, KAVQ

Beech sn 5887, SNB-5P, RC-45J BuNo 23793, N5646
At Mariana Regional Airport, KAVQ, Tucson, AZ, March 2009

This one was a mystery. The little Call Sign plate on the panel says 29618, but there's two things wrong with that. First, sn 7677 (below) is obviously BuNo 29618. Secondly, the plate is screwed on, which is not normal, and I suspect it was relocated from the real 29618. The stabilizer data plate says it is a SNB-5P. It is now identified online by others and I'll go with that, as given above, unless I learn otherwise.

 
 

Beech sn 5981, N11246, BuNo 23806, SNB-5, UC-45J
At Duff Aircraft, Denver Colorado, July 2011

Well, the game is about over for this UC-45J! Yep, sure enough it's UC-45J 23806! That's N15404, sn 7787, UC-45J BuNo 29639 peering over its shoulder.

Twin Beech N11246 at Duff Aircraft, Denver

 
  Twin Beech photo, U.S. Army, Volpar

Beech sn 6103, N5351G, SNB-5, TC-45J BuNo 23824,
U.S. Army 23824, later N38546, N169GC
Slides: Left, date unk. Right, Dec. 1982

Another of the seven T/UC-45J's that the Army got from the Navy and converted to high gross and Volpar tri-gears. It has a cargo door but no apparent crew door.

U.S. Army Volpar Twin Beech N5351G photo  
 

Similar to sn 5712 this one was also misidentified when FAA registered. They must have felt compelled to somehow make it a USAF or Army serial and made up 423824! It was deregistered in 1991 and declared destroyed but I can't find any reports on it. I also have photos of Army Volpars 12364 sn 4255, and 39767 sn 4408, but don't have space to post them.

 
 

Beech sn 6125, N231LJ, BuNo 23835, SNB-5, TC-45J, ex N8539
An April 1989 slide, at ELP, El Paso International

Almost awe inspiring! Wow!! The Hamilton Westwind II STD is the longest of the Twin Beech mods, and only one was built. It used the Turboliner fuselage and Garrett AiResearch engines, but has the long nose and a tailwheel. I believe it flew for Connie Kalitta all it's life, including trans-Atlantic flights. (Parmerter p360) It was grounded after an engine fire in June 1994.

Twin Beech, Hamilton Westwind II N231LJ photo

 
 

Beech sn 6323, N38L, BuNo 51132, 1952 TC-45J, BE-18T Hamilton Westwind III, ex N16008, C-GBLI

What a machine and what a shot! This is a "natural" photo taken by Virgil Gottfried, with Michael Stoltzfus flying the sterilized Mediterranean Fruit Fly dispersing Beech. More photos and info at K&K Aircraft fleet

Turbine Beech 18 N38L, K&K Aircraft  
 

Beech sn 6999, N9659, BuNo 90536, SNB-5, UC-45J
A Feb. 1980 slide

The USDA did operate several Twin Beech's on pest control projects, including N9659. I have photos of several others including cn 3679, N40083 (above). Here's a list of USDA Twin Beechs that I found in my 1976 FAA directory.

USDA Beech 18, Twin Beech N9659

 
 

Beech SNB-5 N90231 sprayer

Beech sn 7118, N90231, BuNo 29584, SNB-5, UC-45J
Photos and info from my collection

Chris D. Stoltzfus & Associates (Father, Karl and I) bought this SNB-5 in Dec. 1963, with about 1900-hrs. total time. We paid $850, which obviously was less engines. It is shown here with one of our Chase YC-122C's, and our B-17G, N5017N, now EAA's "Aluminum Overcast" - - - but those are other stories to be told.

 
 
On May 18, 1964 I had a three-hour Twin Beech checkout in it (I already had 10-hours of Apache time) with Jim Sims, furloughed and now retired National Airlines pilot. By June it was equipped with two 150-gallon spray tanks and issued a Restricted Category Airworthiness Certificate. It was very stock except for the raised tail gear. For some reason '90231 was always the "Plain Jane" of our fleet but it was a good workhorse for spraying. In July 1972 Father sold it to John Sieglinger of Patchogue, NY for $13,500. The price included "the installation of one Narco MK-12 transceiver in operating condition," and a checkout in the aircraft. It was later used for many years to haul skydivers and I believe it is still current.
 
  Beech RC-45J aircraft photos

Beech csn 7677, BuNo 29618, SNB-5P, RC-45J
At DMA yard, Tucson, AZ, March 2009

This is as stock as you can get and you could lay pretty high odds that it will never fly. Per Parmerter (p221), 43 Beechs were remanufactured into the SNB-5P, RC-45J configuration for aerial photography. They had bomb bay type doors that opened for the cameras to shoot through. This one is not FAA registered.

 
 

And RC-45J BuNo 29618 it is! That looks like a carrier aircraft tailwheel there! My twin Karl and I owned an SNB-5P in 1970. He flew it back to VA from Houston, TX, but didn't put the N-number in his log book so we don't know its identity.

 
 

Beech sn 7787, N15404, BuNo 29639, SNB-5, UC-45J
At Duff Aircraft, Denver Colorado, July 2011

Sitting right behind sn 5981 like an inmate on death row, 7787 has probably given up all hope of having a life. It would certainly need some fabric work.

Duff Aircraft, Denver, CO, Twin Beech N15404

 
 

Beech sn 8142, N20003, BuNo 44580, SNB-5, UC-45J
At Tullahoma Regional Airport, KTHA, Tullahoma, TN, Oct. 2005

The display card gives you recent info on this SNB-5. The first Twin Beech I flew (1963) was an SNB-5 and this panel brings back memories. From Baugher I gather that it was USAAF C-45F, 44-47733 or 34 that went to the Navy as a JRB-4. It is one of a group of 20 that were remanufactured into SNB-5's, and later redesignated the UC-45J.

Twin Beech SB-5 N20003 at Tullahoma

 
 
What a surprise to see the aft fuselage section of BuNo 44580 at Duff Aircraft, Denver, CO, in July 2011! Somebody had a project going here and was mating two aircraft, but apparently gave up. I have no idea about what aircraft the front part of this bird is/was, but it was once a high-gross Beech with short stacks, full gear doors and so forth..
 
 

Beech sn 8143, N8794, BuNo 44581, SNB-5, TC-45J
An AirPix slide, at CVG, Oct. 1979

A Great Western, Hamilton Westwind III at Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Airport, in Oct. 1979. This one started out with a cargo pod and short nose (Parmerter p359) but was reconfigured after the pod door came open and dumped the cargo. This sounds like an interesting series of events in 1975!

Hamilton Westwind III Twin Beech photo

 
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