The Beech Aircraft Company of Wichita, Kansas, designed the Beech 18 in 1936 for the small feeder airline market but sales really took off with the start of the Second World War. Beech won an USAAF contract in 1941 and the company eventually built more than 5,250 aircraft for the military under the C-45 designation. The Beech 18 was used to train pilots, navigators, bomb aimers and gunners, as well as serving as a military transport.
The RCAF took delivery of its first C-45 in August 1939 and called it the Expeditor. Three versions of the C-45 were used by the RCAF - the 3NM, 3TM and the 3T. The 3NM was used for navigation, bombing and weapons training, as well as photo survey work, the 3TM for VIP transportation and the 3T for cargo. Eventually, the RCAF purchased 394 C-45s.
With the conclusion of the war, civil aviation began to reassert itself and airline operations expanded across Canada. There were many entrepreneurs enticed into aviation and Walter “Stubb” Ross was one of them. He grew up on a cattle ranch in Southern Alberta but was keenly interested in flying. By the early 1960s he was president of both the Flying Farmers and Alberta Flying Farmer Executive but commercial aviation is what appealed to him. After acquiring a commercial pilot’s license in 1963 he bought Lethbridge Air Services (LAS) and in 1966 started a short haul airline between Lethbridge and Calgary.
Stubb initially purchased two C-45 Expeditors Mk. 3NM that had been flown by the RCAF, registering one of them as CF-RSX. His company grew and he changed the name to Time Air, developing operations that rivalled PWA in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The regional airline had made its mark and in 1993 Canadian Pacific Airlines purchased Time Air as part of its regional network.
As Time Air grew, the two Expeditors became obsolete and both were sold. CF-RSX went through many owners in Saskatchewan, Alberta and NWT before finally coming to the Alberta Aviation Museum. CF-RSX is painted in its Lethbridge Air Services livery to commemorate the operations of the original Alberta-based company.
The Beechcraft Expeditor 3NM will be open for seating opportunities at the museum's 2021 Open Cockpit Day
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