Hawker Beechcraft has certified a longer-range version of the venerable King Air 350 twin-turboprop, an airplane that can stay aloft longer than eight hours and boasts an IFR range of 2,570 nm, some 700 nm farther than the standard model.
The newly introduced King Air 350ER (extended range) stretches its legs with the incorporation of additional nacelle fuel tanks and a new heavyweight landing gear developed for the so-called special-mission market. For buyers who require the extra capabilities such an airplane offers, the King Air 350ER will likely be worth its premium price of $6.8 million, some $900,000 more than a typically equipped Model 350.
A private investor last spring became the first UAE buyer of the King Air 350ER, which will be managed and operated by GulfJet from Dubai International Airport.
Taking off at its increased gross weight of 16,500 pounds (up from the original model’s 15,000 pounds), the 350ER can fly 100 nm, loiter for more than seven hours at low altitude, return to its base and still land with more than 45 minutes of reserve fuel. “No other aircraft in its class can come close to this performance,” said Ted Farid, vice president for new business development at Hawker Beechcraft.
The King Air is the most successful twin turboprop ever produced, with more than 6,200 rolling off the production line since the airplane’s introduction in 1964. Today, Hawker Beechcraft sells the King Air C90Gti, B200GT and the 350 versions.
Special-mission platforms have long been an important niche business for the company, both with the King Air line and converted business jets, many of which have been sold for military/VIP transport use.
Saudi Arabia Buys Five Medevac King Airs
Hawker Beechcraft on Sunday announced the sale to Saudi Arabia of five King Air 350C models outfitted with Lifeport medical gear. The Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA) will operate the airplanes for medevac transportation throughout the country. Scheduled for delivery next year, they will be based in Riyadh. Major General Hamad Hassoun, MODA director of medevac services, noted that the ministry evaluated a number of aircraft “and none available could meet our needs for operations in and out of unimproved airports with the loads the King Air 350 can carry.”