Beech AT-7-BH Navigator
(Beech C-45 Navigator)
Navigator SNB-2 US Navy in flight


The Beech AT-7-BH (later T-7-BH) Navigator was a twin engined monoplane trainer/communications aircraft. Ordered by the US Navy in 1940, the intended use of the C–45 Navigator as a photography platform was expanded to include administrative and logistic support, the transport of patrol aircraft crews, and as a training aircraft for photo reconnaissance crews. Pilots not assigned to operational squadrons relied on the SNB, or "Bugsmasher" as it was affectionately named, to maintain flying proficiency for the purpose of collecting "hazardous duty" pay. As a result, "Bugsmasher" time appears in the log books of most US Naval aviators during the course of the aircraft's thirty years service.

5 Beech AT-7-BH (later T-7-BH) Navigator were supplied to the Royal Navy in lieu of 4 Grumman Goose which were diverted to the US Army. Two were retained for the RN in USA and 3 to East Africa. The first was delivered to the RN in 1943 as FR879 which was supplied to the RN in USA. This aircraft later went to the Dutch Government for Prince Bernhard as PB-2. Other US aircraft  were retained by the RN at USNAS Anocostia between 1943-1944 for RN personal use for visits to factories building aircraft for the Fleet Air Arm.

The first FAA squadron issued with the Navigator was 742 squadron in December 1943 (FR881) where three were sent to East Africa thence to 742 squadron in Colombo/Coimbatore/Sulur (Ceylon).

Fleet Air Arm history
        Beech AT-7-BH (later T-7-BH) Navigator
        Total FAA 1939-1945:       5
        First delivered to RN:        1943
        First squadron 1939-1945:  742 sqdn 1943
        Operational squadron:         None
        Last served with RN           AJ152 derelict in blister hangar at Exeter 1948-1952
Aircraft Type:
Beech C-45 Navigator
Primary Role:
First Flight: 
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Beech Manufacturing Co.
Two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R–985–B5 engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Span 47' 7"; 33' 11"
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
8,750 lbs gross



Speed 230 mph maximum
Range: 1,125 miles normal (no reserve)
2 (Pilot/co–pilot plus 5–7 passengers)
Battle honours:
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with the Fleet Air Arm

Surviving aircraft and relics

Some 16 Beech Navigators have survived around the world, however its not known if any of the former Fleet Air Arm aircraft which were returned after the war to the USN have survived.

National Naval Aviation Museum: RC-45J "Kansan" (BuNo 09771)
National Naval Aviation Museum: RC-45J "Kansan" (BuNo 09771): The Museums's RC-45J "Kansan" (BuNo 09771) was obtained in 1972 from NATTU at NAS Pensacola, Florida and is on display outdoors.

Associations and reunions
No information

Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Warbird Alley Warbird Alley, an online reference source for information about privately-owned, ex-military aircraft. Includes details and specs and a summary total of airworthy aircraft including the Kansan/Expeditor/Navigator
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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