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Just how much can a Beech 18 haul?

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Wild Bill
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Just how much can a Beech 18 haul?

Unread post by Wild Bill » Tue Aug 05, 2008

Anybody got any bigger overload stories than this...that are true? Here's mine...and it's entirely true.

I have been extremely lucky in Beech 18s. Flew them for myself as an Air Taxi operator back in the mid to late 70s in the U.S. for the old Emery Air Freight. Taking off with over 3,500 pounds in the back was common.

I always wondered, being young, foolish & somewhat stupid...just how much WILL a Beech 18 pull off the ground?

Fast forward to about 1982 San Juan Int'l Airport. I was hauling cargo for Paul Wikander of Virgin Air in St. Thomas & San Juan was a regular stop. This day I had to pick up magazines for the Caribbean Compass. Don't know if it's still in existence. It was that bright gaudy yellow color that graced many tourist oriented locations in the Caribbean at the time.

I was supposed to make two loads with this cargo. My cheap (50 cents per bottle) Rum addled brain starting thinking....hmmm? Since all this stuff is neatly loaded onto pallets, weighed accurately & makes a nice neat compact package....I wonder if this old Beech 18 can takeoff with ALL of it. ALL 6,250 pounds! A load that would make a DC-3 think twice about.

Well, you can probably figure out that I loaded ALL 6,250 pounds into the back & stuffed as much as I could into the nose for proper weight & balance you know! :)

Standing back, looking at my handiwork, I could see the tires being sort of really square on the bottom with little freeboard between the bottom rubber & the aluminum wheel itself. Hmmm? This don't look good I thought. But...being young, foolish & 30 years of age....what the hell I'll give 'er the old high school drop out, Vietnam Vet Volunteer 3-times over try!

Hopping in the dilapidated cockpit & revving up to near full power, I finally got the old girl moving, turning it was another thing but I got that done in time.

Lining up on San Juan LONG runway, I got the usually unlocked tailwheel locked & added takeoff power. It moved but very slowly. This would be a world record for me & I was really hoping to pull it off & fly it into St. Thomas & marvel at the amazement of my friends & enemies.

20, 40, 60 mph...push forward....hard! Nothing! Tailwheel not coming off! 80 miles per hour! Nothing! At this speed a Be-18 is off & climbing out nicely. This one wasn't going anywhere! At a little over 80+ I backed off. The tail wheel was glued to the ground!

Later I discovered the left main wheel was actually cracked. I never told Paul why. :)

islandflyer
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Re: Just how much can a Beech 18 haul?

Unread post by islandflyer » Mon Jun 08, 2009

Holy moley... madness!! :D

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bimjim
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Re: Just how much can a Beech 18 haul?

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Jun 09, 2009

Phil Mayo once told me that if you can get a DC-3's tail off the ground it will fly... I don't know about the characteristics of the BE-18 that way.

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