Textron Aviation today unveiled the Beechcraft King Air 260, the latest King Air to receive a refresh with nearly all the same new features as the King Air 360, which the Wichita-based airframer announced in August. “We are bringing the latest technological advancements to the King Air 260 cockpit that not only bring greater ease of operation for pilots, they bring a whole new era of flying for this renowned aircraft,” said Textron Aviation senior v-p of sales and flight operations Rob Scholl during the company’s virtual news conference today at VBACE.
Like the 360, the 260’s flight deck will be equipped with Innovative Solutions & Support’s (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle, a digital pressurization controller, and Collins Aerospace’s Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar. “This system is widely regarded as one of the premium weather radar systems available,” Scholl said. Newly designed seats created originally for the 360 through a pressure-mapping process that provides a more comfortable experience on longer flights complete the 260’s upgrades.
Production of the 260 has begun, with certification and initial deliveries expected in early 2021. Its list price is $6.7 million.
On a related note, the company announced that it has obtained STCs for the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle on King Air 200s equipped with Pro Line Fusion avionics. The company also expects STC approval soon for King Air 300-series turboprops equipped with Pro Line 21 avionics.
On the Cessna side of the Textron Aviation house, Scholl noted that its flagship Citation Longitude recently marked its one-year anniversary for type certification. As of the end of the third quarter, the company has delivered 22 Longitudes and the fleet has amassed more than 5,000 hours.
He added that the Longitude, along with all its other turbine aircraft, is capable of operating with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). “And we are proud that our customers can choose to fuel with SAF when taking delivery of new Beechcraft turboprop and Cessna turboprop and jet aircraft or when departing from our Wichita service center as part of their service experience,” Scholl said.
Lastly, he explained that production line flow on the newest Cessna airplane, the SkyCourier turboprop twin, will begin in early 2021, with FAA type certification anticipated later that year. While Scholl acknowledged Textron Aviation’s other in-development turboprop, the Cessna Denali, he did not offer any update on its progress such as first flight. A spokeswoman reiterated the company was not commenting on a timeline for the turboprop single because it continues to wait for the safety-of-flight engine from GE Aviation. A GE Aviation spokesman told AIN delivery of the safety of flight engine is expected before the end of this year.