One of the most distinctive U.S. Army Air Forces aircraft was the UC-43 Traveler, a light transport biplane with negative or backward staggered wings. In June 1939 Beech delivered three examples of its popular commercial Model 17 Staggerwing aircraft for evaluation under the designation of YC-43. These were later assigned to the U.S. air attaches at the American Embassies in London, Paris and Rome.
Early in World War 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, donated by Maj. Richard River, USAF (Ret.), of Chillicothe, Ohio, was flown to the museum in May 1974. Procured by the Army during WWII, it was assigned to the Navy as a GB-2. It is painted as a UC-43 assigned to the 8th Air Force in England in 1943.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-985 of 450 hp
Maximum speed: 212 mph
Cruising speed: 202 mph
Range: 785 miles
Ceiling: 20,000 ft.
Span: 32 ft.
Length: 26 ft. 1 1/2 in.
Height: 8 ft.
Weight: 4,250 lbs. maximum
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