Pro Line 21 all-glass cockpit joins King Air production line

 - March 19, 2008, 7:04 AM

All production Beech King Air 350s and B200s are now being equipped at the factory with Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics in a configuration that is nearly identical to the cockpit in the Beech Premier I entry-level business jet and being offered at no increase in aircraft price.

The standard Pro Line 21 configuration or the King Air models includes two 8- by 10-inch primary flight displays and a like-size multifunction display in the center of the panel, along with additional avionics including Pro Line 21 CNS radios and sensors; FMS-3000 flight management system; GPS receiver; solid-state attitude and heading reference system (AHRS); dual digital air-data computers; a maintenance diagnostic system; dual mode-S transponders; turbulence-detection weather radar; radio altimeter; fail-passive autopilot; and dual flight director.

In spite of all the electronics included in the Pro Line 21 package, the all-digital system is actually several hundred pounds lighter than the previous factory-standard avionics and flight systems. Veteran Beechcraft owner Bob Goff of Traverse City, Mich., took delivery of the first Pro Line 21-equipped King Air, a B200, last month at a handover ceremony during the NBAA Convention.

According to Raytheon Aircraft, the company approached Rockwell Collins about a year ago to ask for an upgraded glass cockpit for the venerable King Air turboprops that would reduce overall box count and decrease cost of ownership. Collins picked a baseline standard that was similar to the Premier I’s front office, starting with the same autopilot that flies in the Premier and Citation CJ series.

Major options available to buyers of new King Airs are a second FMS-3000, second ADF, second DME, second GPS receiver and flight ID. In the future Collins plans to offer its new integrated flight information system (IFIS) for viewing electronic charts, graphical weather and enhanced map overlays on the displays, as well as TCAS II, Cat II approach capability, datalink communications, dual mode-S transponders and the HF-9000 radio.

Pro Line 21 has been selected as standard equipment aboard the Raytheon Hawker 800XP; Citation CJ1, CJ2 and CJ3; Bombardier Challenger 300; Gulfstream 150; and Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor.