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by Neil Spencer

G-ARII as delivered from the U.K. in 1968.
Pre-polish in 1973.
Not as a result of the polish!
This is the new paint job in 1975.


The paint job on Beech Queen Air VH-CTE had deteriorated to such an extent that when you brushed against the fuselage or wings your clothing would be covered in paint dust residue. The rough surface contributed to some significant drag but we didn't take much notice; just another homely character of this aircraft.

One day Bruce Riddell suggested we give her a polish and see if we could get any more speed out of the old girl; good idea we thought. So, on a morning when we weren't flying, we all turned up at the hangar with a couple of electric polishers and tins of cutting compound and went to work.

All day we scrubbed and polished and the old girl started to shine. The problem was, we polished off most of the old paint to a point where the British "G" prefix of the previous registration (G-ARII) became visible. The previous paint job had just been sprayed over the top which may have explained why it was all coming off. The registration letters were then so convoluted that no one could tell what the registration was supposed to be. It seems that the aeroplane had once belonged to Jack Brabham and he used it on the European car racing circuit to get from one race to another.

CTE flew on for some time with the new polish job and parts of the old registration showing, which didn't please DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) all that much, but we did get another 5 knots out of her. She subsequently got a new paint job but didn't fly any faster.

Neil Spencer
April 2009

See also the History of VH-CTE


If you wish to contribute your experiences, please contact Ron