Beechcraft Super King Air
Fifty years after delivering its very first engine to Beechcraft, Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrated another milestone yesterday by delivering to Beechcraft at EAA AirVenture the 80,000th PT6 turboprop, in this case a -60A variant that powers the King Air 350i. “As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this iconic engine,” said P&WC president John Saabas, “we are proud to share this important moment with Beechcraft, which was the first customer to select the PT6.” The PT6 has since become the most popular engine in all aviation market segments.
Kenny Dichter, founder of jet-card innovator Marquis Jet, is re-entering the private aviation market with the launch of Wheels Up, a new private members club. The new company is set to place an $800 million order for 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin turboprops, with deliveries of the eight-passenger aircraft due to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, running through 2018.
Beechcraft said it recorded a 75-percent increase in second-quarter aircraft deliveries over the same period a year ago. The company delivered 56 commercial and military aircraft, compared with 32 in last year’s second quarter. This year’s second-quarter total includes 12 King Air 350i/ERs, seven King Air 250s and five King Air C90GTxs. In the first half of this year, Beechcraft delivered 115 airplanes versus 69 in the same period last year, for an increase of 66 percent.
The pilot escaped with minor injuries after his Beechcraft King Air 200 crashed on a four-lane road just short of Runway 16 at Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK), Wheeling, Ill., on June 26. No one on the ground was injured. The King Air narrowly missed striking a number of nearby apartment buildings and was substantially damaged when the right wing struck a tree. There was no fire.
This week at the Paris Air Show Beechcraft (Chalet/Static I) announced a 28-month contract extension to the contractor logistics support program it provides for the Iraqi Air Force’s six King Air 350/350ER special-mission aircraft. Beechcraft’s global mission support (GMS) team provides the in-country support and comprises 15 personnel. As well as technicians the team includes instructors to train Iraqi maintenance personnel. The Iraqi GMS team operates a base supply warehouse and provides services on a cost-per-flying hour model.
Raisbeck Engineering’s swept-blade “turbofan propellers” for the King Air 200 series are now approved in Brazil after the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) granted certification late last month.
A spokesperson for Raisbeck Engineering told AIN, “There are about 500 King Airs in Brazil alone, making it a major market for us. We hope that the swept-blade prop reenergizes our presence in the South American region and we’ll be focusing a lot of our attention on the market as it continues to grow.”
Hawker Beechcraft Services facilities are now authorized installation centers for the CenTex Halo 250 gross weight increase modification for the Beechcraft King Air 200. The conversion adds 920 pounds of payload capacity by increasing the mtow of 200-series King Airs to 13,420 pounds from 12,500.
CenTex Aerospace of Waco, Texas, developed the modification and received FAA certification last October.
Since it exited a 10-month restructuring process and Chapter 11 protection in February, the rebranded Beechcraft (formerly Hawker Beechcraft) has performed well and is even looking at possible new models to bolster its turboprop line-up.
Hawker Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy in February, restructured and rebranded as Beechcraft (Booth 7060), and the message it brings to EBACE is that it has refocused on the business of building and selling airplanes, and servicing and supporting what it builds.
Beechcraft has two “significant” elements to its show presence here. The stand in the main hall, said executive v-p of sales and marketing Shawn Vick, “is branded universally as Beechcraft and we are represented there by members of our African, European and Middle East teams.”