Updated 5-19-2012

This Beech 18 was originally 41-121161, one of 7 AT-7A aircraft.
It was delivered to Elmendorf AAF on Floats on April 4, 1942 to the 10th Air Rescue Sqdn.
It was involved in at least three accidents, mostly ground loops.

It was remanufactured by the Beechcraft factory as a USAF C-45H, 52-10930 and delivered on January 6, 1955 with a new Air Force serial number, AF-860. It spent time at Robins AFB, Seymour AFV, and then was sent to Davis-Monthan AFB for storage and sale in March 1960. In April 1960 it was donated to Southern Illinois University, who owned it for 12 years.
This is the paint job it had from 1960 through the 80s.

When we came into the picture, she had been sitting outside, out of annual for 3 years.
She looked a bit forlorn and dejected.

The rain had come in and caused lots of mildew and damage to the vinyl side panels.

The seats were pulled out to clean the carpet and better inspect the rain damage.
Without the seats, there is room to hold a dance in there!

After inspection it was discovered that the rain has caused lots of rot to
the wood floorboards as well. Four of the five floor boards had to be replaced.
In addition, as the seats were moved to different positions over the years, new
holes were made in the floorboards, and metal plates were put over the old holes.
The new floor boards will remove the metal plates and make it lighter.
This is still a work in progress. One floorboard done, more to follow!

Ken's dad, Gene, came up to help us in this endeavor! His assistance is invaluable!

Going through the paperwork, we discovered that the last time the elevator and
rudders were re-covered was in 1962. They were showing their age, and it was
decided to pull them off and recover them.
The rudders fit in the back of my car, but the elevator went from the windshield out
the back and hung out about 4 feet. Gene, in the front seat, ended up squished
between the elevator and the door, but we made it!

We stripped the old covering off the rudders and found no big surprises, considering their age. Just the basic wasp nests, including one live wasp inported from New York, and miscelaneous mud and dirt. It looked like the rudders would fill up with water, and not drain as their drain holes were plugged up. The water line is evident on the interior of the rudder fabrics. We did find one bolt that looks like it was dropped when somebody tried to install it at one point. Looks like a really old bolt, judging by the rust.

The rudders were cleaned up and recovered in record time.

The elevator had.... Character. It was was stripped, and it too had the requisite mouse nests,
wasp nests and various repairs needed. It looks like something ran into it from behind,
and the damage was never repaired, but somebody took the time to repair the covering over it.
Of course, nothing in the logbooks. There were several broken ribs and the trailing edge in the
center was in several pieces. Repairs were made, including a new trailing edge piece.
It was covered and ribstitched too.
All the ribstitching (1" spacing!) took place in one day, and I have the blisters to prove it!

The newly covered controls were painted and the paint was matched. The green trim stripes
will be put on when it is flyable again and can be flown to the paint shop.


The props were sent out for their 5 year AD inspection. All the de-ice parts were removed since the rest had been removed from the plane. They were polished up and look fantastic!

Ken made a new passing light lens. It is clear and has no cracks or crazing.

The interior side panels were recovered with new gray vinyls and the wood tables were refinished.
The rotten carpet in the rear was replaced with lightweight gray carpet. The cargo net anchors were
completely corroded and non-functional, so they were replaced with new ones. The curtains were cleaned.
All the interior parts were re-installed, including the new floorboards, cleaned carpet and seats.
While the interior was out, we had an extra old Beech 18 seat, and were able to get some leather that
closely matched the colors. So another seat was installed in the rear of the plane.

Now Sweet Pea can carry 8 people in luxury!

The right engine was using oil, but at an acceptable level. We took off on it's maiden voyage
after the annual, and withing 5 minutes the oil pressure on the right engine dropped to the bottom
of the yellow arc, so we returned to investigate. The result is that the right engine was removed
and trucked to Tulsa engines or teardown, inspection and repair.
The good news is that while it is down for repair, we are saving money on fuel!

The rear blower seal was bad and had to be replaced. A nut that came loose that holds the carb on,
and got sucked up into the blower, trashing the blades, which threw the engine out of whack. That
caused the engine to shake rattle and roll and caused the blower seal to come loose, resulting in
pulling the engine and having to have it repaired. It was taken to Tulsa Engines, we had a road trip
to go pick it up, and now the engine is all fixed and reinstalled.

The Big N numbers are remomved from the side, then she is taken to the paint shop to get the touchups
needed after the recover of the tail feathers and the N number parts. Behold.....