Beechcraft Super King Air 200 VH-FII

This Beechcraft Super King Air 200 (c/n BB-653) is operated on airways flight inspection duties by Pearl Aviation for AeroPearl, on contract to Airservices Australia. AeroPearl is a partnership between Pearl Aviation and Aerodata GmBH, manufacturers of the flight inspection equipment.

The aircraft itself was manufactured in 1980 and initially registered in the USA as N67224. However, it was exported to Australia new and registered VH-MXK on 14 May 1980. The aircraft was acquired by Pearl Aviation and re-registered VH-FII on 30 July 2001. It was subsequently fitted with the AD-FIS-8 flight survey equipment removed from Airservices Australia Astra VH-FIS, which it then replaced. VH-FII used the distinctive callsign 'Auscal 1'.

The photo above shows VH-FII at Melbourne/Essendon on 1 June 2010. It carries titles for the 'Flight Inspection Alliance', an international marketing alliance for flight inspection services. The photo below shows VH-FII, also at Essendon, on 28 February 2005, immediately prior to a sortie to inspect the Essendon ILS. On the apron beneath the aircraft lies the aircraft's laser reflector, shown in close-up in the bottom photo mounted on the aircraft's belly.

For calibration of precision navaids, such as ILS, a Laser Tracker is used to provide more accurate tracking of the aircraft's flight path than the on-board precision GPS is able to manage. The Laser Tracker detects the laser energy returned from the reflector mounted on the aircraft. Since the reflector generates an appreciable amount of drag, it is only mounted on the aircraft for sorties requiring use of the Laser Tracker.



Below: VH-FII during a navaid calibation sortie at Oakey Army Aviation Centre on 18 August 2005. Flight checking of Defence navaids is done by civil operators - previously the Department, now Aeropearl.


VH-FII made its last flight on 5 September 2012. The aircraft's engines and equipment were removed and the airfrafme was donated to the Queensland Air Museum at Caloundra. The aircraft was moved to its new site in September 2013 and re-erected the following month. The image below shows the aircraft on display at Caloundra. The aircraft's airways calibration equipment was donated to the Airways Museum, Essendon.

VH-FII and Airservices-owned VH-FIS were replaced in 2012 by two new King Air 300s, VH-FIY and VH-FIZ, both owned by Pearl Aviation.



The image below shows the progress being made in the restoration of VH-FII at the Queensland Air Museum. The photo was taken on 20 May 2017.



(Photos: 1-Gordon Reid; 2 & 3-Phil Vabre; 4-David Pennycuick; 5-Ken Watson; 6-Ron Cuskelly)

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