We have created a YouTube Channel featuring stories by “Freight Dogs” about the important role that Twin Beeches played in hauling airmail and freight, and want to capture YOUR stories!
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N18RY, sn: BA-325, started life in 1957 as an E-18s, registered N5617D. The aircraft was purchased new by famous race pilot Roscoe Turner, and based in Indianapolis, IN. She spent the next two decades in the hands of various individuals and corporate flight departments, being reregistered five times in that period. In 1979, BA-325 was equipped with a cargo door, crew hatch, and all of the necessary provisions internally for her new life as a freighter. Registered at the time as N26BB, she was purchased by Robert A. Younkin in 1982.
Younkin had begun his professional career in aviation just a few years earlier flying night airmail in Twin Beeches for Pro Airlines in Rapid City, SD, then for SEMO, based in Malden, MO. He began his own on-demand freight operation in 1979 using a couple of different aircraft, and with the purchase of N26BB, he founded Younkin Air Service, Inc. After a new paint scheme in colors Younkin picked, BA-325 was reregistered for the final time as N18RY. Younkin flew on-demand and scheduled cargo runs to include everything from car parts, UPS boxes, tooling and equipment, to even occasionally, dolphins between aquariums around the country. He personally put over 8,000 flying hours on N18RY before selling her for the final time in 1999.
Bobby’s son Matt, grew up washing, fueling, oiling, and riding as copilot in this airplane every chance he got. Although never a freight pilot himself, Matt cherishes the memories spent in the middle of the night with his father on freight runs during the Christmas rush, and in the summer when he was out of school. Naturally, when N18RY was made available for purchase from a long time family friend, Matt jumped at the opportunity to reacquire her. Because she had been parked and partially disassembled for almost 18 years, it was quite a challenge to get her airworthy for the trip back to her northwest Arkansas home. With the help of capable mechanics Jeff Gibbs and Tyler Hinkle, as well as all the companies listed below, she made it home and has been proudly restored to the condition you see her in today.
We would like to extend a very special thank you to: