The aircraft is now on display in the main aviation display hanger. You can easily see why it was such a great aircraft for aerial photography work with great visibility out the cockpit and bomb aiming nose windows.
I first got to know this aircraft while it was in the old Belfast hanger and was always impressed at how complete it was. It felt like you could roll this aircraft outside, start her up and fly away. This is really because is was simply retired from flight worthy status to Motat, and so unlike many other aircraft at the museum, it has not needed restoration from many pieces collected from farms and barns.
During 2009 this aircraft was located inside the Belfast Hanger undergoing a complete repaint, along with some general maintenance, ready for display in the new main hanger hanger extension.
The wing spar of the Model 18 was fabricated by welding an assembly of tubular steel. The configuration of the tubes in combination with drilled holes from aftermarket STC modifications on some of these aircraft have allowed the spar to become susceptible to corrosion and cracking while in service. This prompted the FAA to issue an Airworthiness Directive in 1975, mandating the fitting of a spar strap to some Model 18s. This led, in turn, to the retirement of a large number of STC-modified Model 18s when owners determined the aircraft were worth less than the cost of the modifications. The corrosion on unmodified spars was not a problem, and occurred due to the additional exposed surface area created through the STC hole-drilling process. Further requirements have been mandated by the FAA and other national airworthiness authorities, including regular removal of the spar strap to allow the strap to be checked for cracks and corrosion and the spar to be X-rayed. In Australia, the airworthiness authority has placed a life limit on the airframe, beyond which aircraft are not allowed to fly.
In the early postwar era, the Beech 18 was the pre-eminent "business aircraft" and "feeder airliner." Besides carrying passengers, its civilian uses have included aerial spraying, sterile insect release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, air mail delivery, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, weapon- and drug-smuggling, engine testbed, skywriting, banner towing, and stunt aircraft. Many are now privately owned, around the world, with 240 in the U.S. still on the FAA Aircraft Registry in August 2017.
- ZK-AMO on display in the main aviation hanger 2014
- aircraft on display outside 2007 while Belfast Hanger was moved (Richard Wesley)
- undergoing repainting 2009 (Richard Wesley)
- just before repainting 2008 (Richard Wesley)
- on display in Belfast Hanger 1990 (Richard Wesley)
- aircraft in use date unknown (internet search)