The Beechcraft King Air is a utility platform developed from the Beechcraft Queen Air of 1958. It continues to see flying time despite its Cold War-era roots. A prototype saw its first-flight in May of 1963 and the series was introduced on September 9th of 1964. Since then, some 3,100 examples have been produced and many offshoots have appeared for both military and civilian roles. The King Air was born as the company Model 120 in 1961.
The two primary models of the line are the Model 90 and Model 100 with a plethora of subvariants in between. The Model 100 has a lengthened fuselage with additional cabin viewing ports and an increased MTOW. Militarized forms are used United States (as the VC-6A, Pegasus and Ute) and others such as the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF). Beyond this, the type has also been in service at the governmental level and under civilian operators globally. Former operators include Chile, Hong Kong, Ireland and Sweden.
The C90GTi model has a crew of one or two and can carry up to seven passengers. Overall length is 35.5 feet with a wingspan of 50.2 feet and a height of 14.2 feet. Empty weight is 7,000lb against an MTOW of 10,100lb. Power is from 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135A series turboprop engines outputting 550 horsepower each and driving Hartzell propeller units. Performance includes a maximum speed of 311 miles per hour, a cruising speed of 260 mph, a range out to 1,530 miles and a service ceiling up to 30,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is 2,000 feet-per-minute.
The B100 model switches to 2 x Garrett TPE-331-6-251B or -252 series turboprop engines of 840 horsepower output. Speed is slightly decreased (307mph) as is the service ceiling (24,850 feet).
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December 2018 - The United States Army is in the market to replace its aging fleet of C-12 and C-26 fixed-wing aircraft; the King Air CER is said to be a contender.
December 2018 - Raytheon UK has been awarded an eleven-year support contract for the Beechcraft Shadow R1 (King Air 350CER) surveillance platform operated by the Royal Air Force (out of Waddington, Lincolnshire).
August 2020 - The French Air Force has taken delivery of a pair of King Air 350 aircraft to satisfay a standing Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) requirement.
Beechcraft - USA Manufacturer(s)
Argentina; Algeria; Australia; Barbados; Bolivia; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; France; Greece; Guatemala; India; Iraq; Ivory Coast; Mexico; Jamaica; Japan; Morocco; Peru; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Spain; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela; Uruguay Operators
None. Military forms carry special mission equipment for Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) sorties.
King Air - Base Series Designation.
Model 87 - Developmental Test Vehicle; 2 x PT6A-6 turboprop engines.
Model 65-90 - Initial production model; 2 x PT6A-6 turboprop engines; 112 examples produced.
Model 65-A90 - Revised cockpit; engine de-icing integrated; increased MTOW.
Model 65-A90-1 - 2 x PT6A-20 turboprop engines; unpressurized cockpit/cabin.
Model 65-A90-2 - Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA)
Model 65-A90-3 - Improved EWA version
Model 65-A90-4 - Reinforced airframe; increased MTOW; 16 examples completed.
Model B90 - Revised wings; increased MTOW; revised cockpit; 184 examples produced.
Model C90 - 2 x PT6A-21 turboprop engines; cabin pressurization of Model 100 series; 507 examples produced.
Model C90-1 - Improved C90 model; 54 examples produced.
Model C90A - 2 x PT6A-21 turboprop engines; revised undercarriage.
Model C90B - Updated C90A models; increased MTOW
Model C90SE - Alternative C90A updated models
Model C90GT - 2 x PT6A-135A engines of 750 horsepower; 97 examples produced.
Model C90GTi - Updated C90GT form with digital glass cockpit; 90 examples produced.
Model C90GTx - Modified C90GT with added winglets; increased MTOW.
Model D90 - Incomplete prototype initiative
Model E90 - 2 x PT6A-28 engines of 680 horsepower; 347 examples produced.
Model F90 - 2 x PT6A-135 engines of 750 horsepower; four-bladed propeller assemblies; T-style tail assembly; 196 produced.
Model F90-1 - Model F90 with 2 x PT6A-135A engines; 32 examples produced.
T-44A Pegasus - U.S. Navy crew/systems trainer.
T-44C Pegasus - U.S. Navy crew/systems trainer (upgraded).
Super King Air - Model of 1972; covers Model 200 and Model 300 series.
Shadow R1 - Surveillance platform based in the King Air 350ER.
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