Beech UC-43 Traveler
One of the most distinctive WW II USAAF aircraft was the UC-43 "Traveler," a light transport biplane with negative or backward staggered wings. Three examples of the popular Beech commercial Model 17 "Staggerwing" aircraft, delivered in June 1939 for army evaluation, were designated YC43s. These were assigned to the U.S. air attaches at the American Embassies in London, Paris, and Rome in 1939 and were operated by U.S. Army Air Corps personnel.
Early in WW II, the need for a compact executive-type transport or courier aircraft became apparent and in 1942 the Army ordered the first of 270 Model 17s for service in this country and overseas as UC-43s. These differed only in minor details from the commercial model. To meet urgent wartime needs, the government also purchased or leased additional "Staggerwings" from private owners including 118 more for the USAAF plus others for the Navy.
The aircraft on display (at the U.S.A.F. Museum, Dayton, OH), donated by Major Richard River, USAF (Ret.) of Chillicothe, Ohio, was flown to the Museum in May, 1974. It was procured by the Army during WW II but was assigned to the Navy as a GB-2. It is painted and marked as a UC-43 assigned to the 8th AF in England in 1943 as a liaison aircraft.
Span: 32 ft.
Length: 26 ft. 1 1/2 in.
Height: 8 ft.
Weight: 4,250 lbs. maximum
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-985 of 450 hp.
Maximum speed: 212 mph.
Cruising speed: 202 mph.
Range: 785 miles
Service Ceiling: 20,000 ft.
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