Tongan Royal Flight

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Crown Prince George (Siaosi) Tupou was educated abroad and became very interested in modern technology. He served more than twenty years as Tonga’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence and was closely involved in the modernisation of the Tonga Defence Services.


In about 2004 a Beech 18 belonging to Aerial Surveys Inc of the USA came to be based in Tonga. The aircraft was used by the Crown Prince and the Tongan Royal Family on several occaisons, including trips to New Zealand. In September 2006 the Crown Prince became King Tupou V. The Beech continued to be used by the Royal Family until at least 2009, but appears to have been little used subsequently. Its airworthiness certificate expired in June 2011. In 2012 the King sadly died and was succeeded by his younger brother.

Key Dates

2004? Beech 18 is first made available to the Royal Family
11 September 2006 Crown Prince becomes King Tupou V
June 2011 C of A for Beech 18 expires

Current Status

The Beech 18 aircraft remains in Tonga but is not believed to be operational.

Future Plans

No plans known. The Royal Family now uses charted commercial airliners for transport.


Markings

National Insignia

None carried – the aircraft retained its former markings.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The Beech 18 retained its US civil registration.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.


Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Beech D18S 1 2004? 2009? USA

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

None known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Tongatapu-Fua’amoto International Airport, Tonga.

Organisational Structure

No subordinate units.

Current Unit Assignments

No subordinate units.

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The aircraft is still based at Tongatapu-Fua’amoto International Airport.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As above.


More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

To be added

Websites

Pacific Islands Report

Any photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

 

Beech D18S

in Tongan Royal Flight Service

History

One Beech D18S delivered circa 2004. Owned by Aerial Surveys Inc of the USA but used by the King of Tonga for VIP Transport duties. Last seen January 2014.


Individual Details

Serial c/no. Prev. Identity Delivered Fate/Notes
N500MK A-216 N500MK 2004? model D18S, noted Mar 2004, noted Aug 2009, C of A expired Jun 2011


Pictures

None at present.

More Information

References

Other Sources

To be added.