Beechcraft has long been a mainstay in the aviation community. Founded in the early 1930’s, Beechcraft set the standard for general aviation aircraft throughout much of the late twentieth, and into the twenty-first century. Headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, Beechcraft continues to increase it’s grip throughout the General Aviation community, even after being bought by Textron aviation. While their single engine piston pounder, the Bonanza, is unique and widely recognizable due to its V-Tail Design, Beechcraft is more popular in the Turboprop world. This is largely for one reason: The King Air. Appropriately named, the King Air class from Beechcraft is far and away the most popular turboprop aircraft in the world. Let’s take a look at the King Air 200.
A New Class
In the early 1980’s Beechcraft sought to improve their abundantly popular Super King Air 200 series with a new reincarnation. They wanted to go faster, increase their capable load and overall throw in more power to an already strong aircraft. To do this, they started with the 200 series airframe. After a few modifications, mostly just straightening the edges and redesigning the cowlings, they looked for more power. Specifically they looked to Pratt & Whitney out of Canada.
Attaching the ever powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A to the airframe proved to be a gold mine. From their, the specs rocketed up. The extra horsepower increased the Maximum Takeoff Weight to 14,000 pounds. After a few interior updates, the King Air 300 prototype was tested in 1983, and the next year Beechcraft started taking orders.
Just like the King Air 200, the 300 has a T-tail design. This provides greater stability at low speed operations. The fuselage of the King Air 300 is just a stretched version of the 200, albeit with upgraded designs and trims.
King Air 300 V.S. Competition
The allure of the King Air 300 has, and always will, be the fact that it performs like a traditional mid size jet, at a fraction of the cost. The King Air 300 can climb and perform up to 35,000 feet, offering the luxury of high altitude and comfort for its passengers. Compared to most turboprop competitors, who operate in the mid 20,000’s, the King Air 300 reigns supreme. The improved design of the King Air 300 and it’s fuselage allows it’s passengers to maintain the highest level of creature comforts on the market. The updated baggage compartment is located towards the tail, and to the right of the entrance for passengers. This allows passengers or crew the ability to efficiently place luggage out of the way of the cabin. Ultimately leading to a more comfortable ride for everyone.
Long range missions are easily achieved in the King Air 300. Due to a maximum range of 1,500 miles, you can escape winter chills from the Eastern Seaboard down to the Florida Keys in the matter of a few hours. This coupled with an unrivaled speed of 350 mph, catapults the King Air 300 to the top of the Turboprop world.