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Queen Air
C-FBOY is Canada's only flying Beechcraft Queen Air. (photo by James Wynbrandt)

By James Wynbrandt

August 3, 2013 - Canada's only flying Beechcraft Queen Air has been attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, occupying a regal parking spot beside the flightline on Row 66 in the Vintage aircraft display area.

Owned by Mark Halden of St. Catharines, Ontario, the Matterhorn white and navy blue piston twin was built in 1968 and originally operated as a commuter aircraft by Perimeter Aircraft in Winnipeg, Canada. Now C-FBOY serves as a very personal airliner, flying under the "Hal-Air" moniker painted on its empennage.

Powered by two 340-hp Lycoming IGSO-480-A136 engines, C-FBOY has a 2,800-pound useful load, a range of more than 1,250 miles, and cruises at 200 knots - all while burning half the fuel of a King Air, according to Halden. "It is like owning a [King Air] C-90 with 10 percent of the insurance, maintenance, and upkeep [costs]," he notes.

Queen Airs built for the commuter market weren't outfitted with the same luxe interiors of executive-configured Queen Airs. As promotional material from Beechcraft of the time said, "Gone are the handcrafted, fold-away tables, refreshment bars and the personally selected appointments that make the executive Queen Air the ultimate in private or corporate transportation."

But Halden has worked to give his Queen the executive - if not royal - treatment.

For comfort and entertainment he added a refreshment center, super soundproofing, and Sony CD system. The tan leather interior features jade green leather seat inserts, wool Berber carpets, dual mahogany map-inlaid writing tables, independent light/air groups for each seat, power ports, and a lav.

Airframe modifications include a factory installed extended wing mod with a gross-weight increase to 8,200 pounds, extra wide cargo door, nose baggage compartment, and long-range fuel tanks. A Garmin 530/430 installation, Sandel EFIS, and Stormscope by BFGoodrich are among the panel upgrades.

To handle Canadian winters, the aircraft has full de-ice protection with hot props. Halden says he's put more than $500,000 into the aircraft. As Halden sums up, "It is built like a tank and incredible to fly."

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