For BLR Aerospace vice president of sales and marketing Dave Marone, EBACE is “a show that becomes more important every year.” The U.S. manufacturer of performance improvement modifications for Beechcraft King Airs and helicopters generates about 15 percent of its business in Europe. “We’re getting our fair share of business out of Europe,” he said. “Not to be involved with EBACE is like putting a big X into Europe.”
While BLR Aerospace’s King Air modifications have long been EASA certified, the FastFin mod for helicopters was recently EASA approved for the Bell 212 (November) and Bell 205 (January). The Bell 412 FastFin should receive EASA certification shortly, according to Marone.
King Air winglets made by BLR Aerospace (Booth1463) are installed as standard equipment on new King Air C90GTx and 250 models at the Beechcraft factory. Now that Beechcraft has exited bankruptcy, Marone said, that company’s leadership is more focused on the turboprop market. “We expect their focus on turboprops will yield product improvement and growth,” he said.
The King Air 250 incorporates three key mods–BLR winglets, Hartzell carbon-fiber propellers and Raisbeck ram-air recovery system–as the Ultimate Performance Package, which upgrades a King Air B200GT to the same performance as a new King Air 250. BLR has certified this package in the U.S. and Europe. The package isn’t yet available for regular King Air 200s, but “we’re looking in that direction,” Marone said.
BLR winglets cost $62,450, and added to that are about 100 hours of labor and painting. “Out the door it’s closer to $75,000,” said Marone. Buyers have a new choice now, adding BLR’s LED lights to the new winglets. The LED lights, certified by the FAA and EASA, bring the winglet price to $67,950 and replace the original incandescent position and recognition lights and the strobe light. The new LED lights, which can be retrofitted to most King Air models, but only those with BLR winglets, have a mean time between failure of 15,000 hours and require no interim luminescence checks or maintenance. Another benefit of the LEDs, Marone said, is that the flashback characteristics of the flashing LED that replaces the strobe light are much better in clouds. Pilots are finding that they don’t have to turn off the flashing LEDs in clouds, he said.
BLR mods are done primarily by Beechcraft authorized service centers, which are BLR’s most active dealers, according to Marone. Next up for BLR are performance improvements for the King Air 90 series. “We’re very helpful people here at BLR,” he said.