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Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning)


Experimental Turboprop General Aviation Aircraft


United States | 1982



"The Beechcraft Lightning was the result of several design combinations - the body of a Baron, the wings of a Bonanza, and a turboprop engine."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Beechcraft Model 38P Experimental Turboprop General Aviation Aircraft.
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-40 turboprop engine developing 550-650 horsepower driving a five-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Propulsion
396 mph
638 kph | 344 kts
Max Speed
24,934 ft
7,600 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
1,286 miles
2,070 km | 1,118 nm
Operational Range
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Beechcraft Model 38P Experimental Turboprop General Aviation Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
29.9 ft
9.12 m
O/A Length
37.8 ft
(11.53 m)
O/A Width
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning) family line.
Model 38P - Base Project Designation.
"Lightning" - Base Project Name.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 12/08/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The utility-minded Model 38P "Lightning" was a long-nose turboprop developed by Beechcraft for the General Aviation (GA) market, appearing alongside contemporaries in the Pipe "Malibu Meridian" and the SOCATA "TBM" (both detailed elsewhere on this site). Despite showcasing extreme promise for the civilian marketplace, the design was doomed by the U.S. economic downturn that affected industry by the end of the 1980s. In the end, the aircraft was suspended from further development and ultimately cancelled in full - with just two being completed.

In the Model 38P (the "P" signifying "Pressurized"), the Beechcraft "Baron" Model 58P fuselage stood in as the base framework for this unique aircraft. Mated to the non-engine wings of a Beechcraft "Bonanza", the sleek passenger hauler was completed with a Garrett AiResearch TPE-331-9 turboprop engine at the nose. The result was a well-streamlined, high-performance GA aircraft worthy of note.

In this original configuration, the aircraft went airborne for the first time on June 14th, 1982 and successfully completed no fewer than 133 total flights. The program hit a snag, however, when it was decided to replace the original turboprop with the Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-40 type which delayed its return into the air for some eighteen months. In this new guise, the aircraft went airborne for the first time on March 9th, 1984 and flew into August of that year for its part in the Lightning story.

As finalized, the aircraft seated its crew of one in a side-by-side arrangement behind the long nose assembly and could carry up to five passengers in the cabin. Overall length reached 29.10 feet with a wingspan of 37.9 feet. The PT6A-40 series turboprop outputting a useful 550 to 650 horsepower to drive a five-bladed propeller unit at the nose. The mainplanes were low-mounted along the fuselage sides and sported slight sweepback. The tail unit comprised a single vertical fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. For ground-running, a retractable tricycle undercarriage was used.

In testing, the aircraft exhibited cruising speeds up to 316 miles-per-hour and could range out to 1,285 miles. Its service ceiling was rated to 25,000 feet.

After the project was suspended, it was not restarted - resulting in any customer deposits on the product being returned. One example of the Model 38P resides in good condition at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

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Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Beechcraft - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (cancelled) ]
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Image of the Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning)
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Image of the Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning)
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Going Further...
The Beechcraft Model 38P (Lightning) Experimental Turboprop General Aviation Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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