Gulf Coast Wing’s Beechcraft
JRB-6 “Little Raider”
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JRB-6 Little Raider was acquired by the Gulf Coast Wing, joining the CAF and becoming a stablemate to B-17G Texas Raiders in August 2016. The aircraft quickly joined Texas Raiders on the Living History Flight Experience program, offering up to five passengers a plush “Admiral’s” ride on a smooth flying aircraft that is as much a joy to fly in as she is to look at.

The Beech 18 is one of the rare aircraft that enjoyed as much success in the civilian market as it did in the military. Over 9,000 of these aircraft were produced at Beechcraft Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas from 1937 to 1970, making it one of the world's most widely used, and longest produced light aircraft. Approximately half of the total production run saw military service during and after WWII.

The Navy and Army Air Force (AAF) both used the Beech 18 for multiple purposes: as a trainer and as a utility transport. The aircraft type is most commonly known by its Army Air Force designation of C-45. However, in military service, the Beech 18 had a number of designations and names, each tied to its functional role.

  • As a utility transport, the aircraft was universally known as the “Expeditor”.
    • AAF designated the Expeditor as C-45
    • Navy designated the Expeditor as a JRB.
  • As a bombardier trainer, the aircraft was universally known as the “Kansan”.
    • AAF designated the Kansan as the AT-11
    • Navy designated the Kansan as the SNB-1.
  • As a navigator trainer, the aircraft was universally known as the “Navigator”.
    • AAF designated the Navigator as the AT-7
    • Navy designated the Navigator as the SNB-2

In World War II, over 90% of USAAF bombardiers and navigators trained in these aircraft, so the aviators who flew in the nose of B-17’s like Texas Raiders almost certainly trained in a variant of the Beech 18 like Little Raider.

Over the course of a 33 year production run, Beech built 9,000 Model 18’s in a whopping 32 variants. Today approximately 250 examples of Beech’s venerable Model 18 remain airworthy.

The Gulf Coast Wing’s JRB-6 Little Raider was built on February 21, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas as a Model D18S. In spite of the Navy markings she currently wears, Little Raider saw only civilian service supporting various companies spanning many decades. However, she was in private hands when the Gulf Coast Wing acquired the aircraft in 2016.

Sporting tail number N197L, the twin engine “tail dragger” is painted in Navy livery, marked as a USN JRB-6 Navigator, and configured internally to carry six: four VIP’s in total comfort plus the pilot and “co-pilot”. Every seat on the aircraft (with exception of the pilot’s seat) is available on the Living History Flight program.

Dubbed “Little Raider” via a selection process conducted by the Wing, the JRB is fitted out for rides to the public. The compact and sturdy airplane flies smoothly and efficiently and is surprisingly quiet in the cabin, so she is perfect for a family flight. Little Raider is available to perform “fly overs” as well as the unique experience of flying nighttime holiday light excursions offered only in December.

JRB-6 Little Raider tours both independently or as a group with B-17G Texas Raiders and the SNJ. All three aircraft are on the Living History Flight Program providing the public with ride options to suit almost every budget and taste.

Flights on the Beech JRB-6 "Little Raider" start at just $150     

Book a Ride Now

GCW Mailing Address

CAF Gulf Coast Wing

 P. O. Box 56

Conroe TX 77305


Conroe/North Houston Regional Airport

General Aviation Services

 5260 Central Parkway

Conroe, Texas 77303

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