Progress is being reported on the re-paint of Beechcraft 18-3TM G-BKGL being performed for owner Tim Darrah at Beechcraft specialists, Beech Restorations at Bruntingthorpe in the East Midlands, United Kingdom.
The plane was built during the Second World War and was “re-manufactured” by Beechcraft in 1951 for delivery to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and assigned the registration number of CA164. The Beech was assigned to the Air Defense Command in Chatam, New Brunswick on April 29th 1952 where it remained in service until 1958 when it was transferred to the 104th Communications Flight in St Hubert, Quebec and later the Canadian Armed Forces Mobile Command, also in St Hubert.
In 1966, the plane was reallocated to the number 3 Flight Training School at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and the number 5 Air Navigation School in Winnipeg. Its military career came to a close in 1971 when the plane was flown to Saskatoon for disposal by the government, acquired by the Giltaur Space Research Corporation, and registered as C-FQPD. In 1972, the Beech was sold on to Capital Air Surveys which held the plane until the company went bankrupt in the mid-eighties, leaving it now owned by creditors and stranded at Prestwick Airport in Scotland.
After extensive negotiations with the creditors, the plane was purchased by Graeme Warner, along with another Beech 18 that also was part of the defunct Capital Air Surveys Fleet. The Beech was re-registered as G-BKGL and was ferried to Duxford, England for restoration.
The 18 was stripped down to the bare metal and the entire airframe and the engines were overhauled, civilian equipment including the auto-pilot and de-icing systems were removed as was the cabin heating system. The cabin was refurbished and the plane was treated to a 1943 US Navy color and marking scheme.
The 18 again went in for an overhaul in 1989 and was refinished this time with a United States Army Air Corps all-silver scheme.
The plane was offered for sale again in the late 90’s when it was purchased by its current owner who is a 747 pilot for Cathay Pacific and who lets the plane for hire through Radial Revelation.