Beech Craft Super King Air Fleet Surpasses 60-Million Flight Hours
The WORLDWIDE FLEET OF BEECH CRAFT TURBO PROP King Airs recently topped an incredible 60-million flight hours cementing its claim to being the most popular and best-selling turbo prop business aircraft family in the world.
More than 7000 King Airs of all Marques are operated in 127 countries around the world, including all branches of the US Military and with many other air forces around the globe.
In Africa, it ranks as one of-if the not the-the most popular twin-engined turbo prop mini-airliners currently in operation by airlines and charter companies both large and small.
In paramilitary service, King Airs serve a variety of missions ranging from traditional transport of personnel and high-value cargo, to electronic and imagery surveillance, air ambulance, airway calibration, photographic mapping, training and weather modification.
“The King Air line continues to lead its segment, representing 53 percent of the worldwide business turbo prop market, “said Shawn Vick, Beech crafts executive vice president, Sales and Marketing.”Today’s King Air gives operators the versatility to land anywhere and transport more passengers further on less fuel-all in a comfortable ,capable cabin. The value, durability and utility of our turbo props are unmatched by any other airplane in the world.
“Millions of hours of flight experience represent a tremendous knowledge base that is fed back into Beech craft,” Vick added.”We greatly value the global experience of our customers and use it to drive major and minor product improvements into the King Air line.
“This means today’s King Air models offer significantly higher performance and reliability than their predecessors and, with our renewed focus on Beech craft products, we are looking forward to even more improvements to come,” he said.
When the T-tail King Air 200 (initially known as the Super King Air) was first introduced to African skies in the mid 1970s, there was some skepticism as to what the reaction would be from both the business and commercial aviation communities .In those days, a director of one of the aircraft distributors told World Air news that he did not anticipate more than 15 sales overall.
He did not specify a time scale, but this must surely rank as a classic understatement because the Africa-wide fleet is now estimated to run into many hundreds.
The C-90 King Air was first FAA-certified in 1964. Although its 50th anniversary is due soon, Beech craft has kept the aircraft series current with refreshed interiors and modern glass cockpit avionics. This included the mid-1970s introduction of the then revolutionary King Air 200 model range.
At the time of its introduction, Beech craft claimed that the King Air 200 was the most extensively tested general aviation aircraft ever and produced photographs showing a number of airframes in test rigs undergoing more rigorous “flying conditions” than the type was ever likely to expect in the future.
Beech craft currently produces the King Air C-90GTx which cruises at 270 knots and the King Air 250 and 350 which cruise at over 310 knots.
Virtually all models of the King Air have used variations of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbo prop engines. OF all 7000 King Airs produced, only 137 aircraft had a Garret Air Research (now Honeywell) engines, namely the model B100 King Air.
King Airs range in ramp weight from just over 4536 kg (10000 lbs) to 7503 kg (16600 lbs) .Payload of the largest King Air 350ER is over 3200 kg (7000 lbs).
The longest range King Air is the Model 350ER with extended range fuel system -which allows the aircraft to fly over 25000 nm or remain airborne over 12 hours and land with 45 minutes of fuel reserve. This marquee has also been adapted as a “special mission” aircraft which last year was demonstrated to the South African Air Force as a possible long-range maritime patrol aircraft.
King Airs are sometimes referred to as the “sport utility vehicle of the skies”.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association 2012 year-end shipment of general aviation aircraft report shows that worldwide turbo prop deliveries increased by 10, 3 percent year-over-year, from 526 aircraft in 2011 to 580 in 2012.Beech craft delivered 85 of its three current production King Air models to commercial customers in 2012-38 King Air 350i, 22 King Air 250 and 25 King Air C90GTx aircraft.