A new sight will soon be seen in the skies over Geraldton and the Mid West.
Shine Aviation is eagerly awaiting the arrival of what will be the nineteenth plane in its fleet, a Beech 1900D.
Powered by twin Pratt and Whitney turboprop engines, the Beech has seating for 19 passengers in addition to its captain and co-pilot.
Presently undergoing a complete refurbishment at Johannesburg in South Africa, it has a cruising speed of 285 knots and its pressurised cabin allows it to fly at an altitude of 17,000 to 24,000 feet.
Shine Aviation general manager John Gooch said the new plane would be used primarily in the company’s service for fly in-fly out workers at the Golden Grove mine near Yalgoo.
“Demand for fly in-fly out is increasing steadily, and it’s not the flood from the eastern states that many people feared,” he said.
“A majority of our passengers live either in Geraldton or nearby parts of the Mid West.”
Mr Gooch expects the Beech 1900 to do seven to 10 flights per week, in addition to the 25 weekly flights already being made by the company’s fleet.
With the new plane expected to arrive in January, four Shine Aviation employees will soon be heading for the USA for familiarisation training.
Chief pilot James Robertson, with pilots Steve Smith and Mark Wine are already twin-engine qualified and will go to New York’s La Guardia Airport, which has a Beech 1900D flight simulator, while chief engineer Rod Boxall will spend a month in Wichita, Kansas.
“Initially we’ll have to outsource some of our maintenance, here in Australia not overseas,” Mr Gooch said.
“However, our long term plan is to keep all our maintenance work on the Beech right here, where it belongs.”