Demand at Beechcraft for special-mission variants of the King Air is growing at a rate the Wichita OEM finds at least gratifying and at most downright exciting.
Beechcraft Super King Air
Beechcraft has sold more than 50 King Air twin turboprops for special missions this year, according to Dan Keady, the company’s senior v-p for special missions. “That’s double last year’s total,” he told AIN.
Beechcraft today announced the appointment of South Africa-based Absolute Aviation as an authorized parts distributor for sub-Saharan Africa. Absolute Aviation, Beechcraft’s exclusive distributor for the region since 2011, will house a stock of inventory worth $1 million at Lanseria Airport near Johannesburg, to support Beechcraft products as well as the Hawker 125 series.
The company’s XPR program provides performance upgrades for Hawker 400 and 800 series jets, with options for new avionics and upgraded engines. Purchase of an already upgraded Hawker 400XPR or 800XPR, at around half the price of a similar new aircraft, is another option for cost-conscious buyers.
Canadian avionics installation company Maxcraft Avionics has received supplemental type certificates for installation of a variety of Garmin products in the Beechcraft King Air 200 and B200. The STCs cover Garmin’s new digital GWX 70 weather radar, GTS 850 Tcas I and GTX 330 mode-S transponder as well as Bendix/King’s KR87 ADF and PS Engineering’s PMA-7000 audio system. Maxcraft, which is based in Vancouver, also holds approvals for installation of Garmin primary and multifunction displays, and the new STC’d products can be installed along with the displays.
The fractional market has undergone severe contraction this year, with CitationAir nearly out of the business of commercial business jet operations, Bombardier’s Flexjet sold to Flight Options parent Directional Aviation Capital and Avantair forced into
By all accounts, this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition was an outstanding success, bringing together the usual group of aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, operators, flight crew, mechanics, owners, buyers and anyone with an interest in the world of business aviation.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
Beechcraft announced that it has certified and begun installations on a range of wireless in-flight connectivity equipment to fit low- and high-occupancy aircraft.
Aircell’s ATG 2000, which provides Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and Text & Talk voice services, is available with certified Wi-Fi as an upgrade through Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) for most Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft. According to the Wichita-based OEM, HBS is offering introductory incentives to operators who purchase an ATG 2000 system through the end of 2013.
SimCom Training Centers (Booth No. N4907) announced at NBAA 2013 that it is using the Cygnus tool from Redbird Flight Simulations to link any aviation or navigation app running on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to a simulator. The “location” of the aircraft being flown in the simulator is passed to the portable device as if it were in an actual aircraft.
“We believe pilots should train the way they fly,” said Eric Hanson, president of Orlando, Fla.-based SimCom. “Cygnus allows SimCom customers to use GPS-enabled tablets in the same way they do in their aircraft.”