The King Air by Beechcraft may be the most popular line of Turboprops in the world. While The King Air reigns on top of the Turboprop world, they continue to strive for improvements. King Airs have been popular for well over three decades, but their largest is the 350.
The King Air 350 has been Beechcraft’s best seller in recent years. Thanks to it’s large cabin and rugged abilities, consumers seem to navigate to the 350. However, it’s not just weekend warriors or cargo haulers that like the 350. Charter companies have long been attached to the King Air class, and due to its size, the 350 is perfect for transporting passengers in the airline chartering community.
Bigger is Better
At first sight, the King Air 350 stands out from its counterparts due to its sheer size. With a 58 ft wingspan, the King Air 350 handles turbulence and weather better than most Turboprops. The wingspan isn’t the only contributing factor to a comfortable ride for the 350.
Another specific attribute for the King Air 350 that isn’t included on it’s sister aircrafts is the position of the engines. Thanks to the larger wingspan, Beechcraft is able to mount the engines farther outboard from the fuselage, as well as moving the propellers farther forward. This allows an overall greater distance from the fuselage to the engines, which keeps the cabin quieter.
Within the cabin, the luxury you’d expect from the King Air line is evident. The most common seat setup includes eight reclining and sliding executive seats. Paired in 4 sets of 2, this offers unrivaled comfort in it’s class.
King Air 350 vs Competition
You’d be right in comparing the King Air 350 to other Turboprop aircraft. It is in fact a Turboprop aircraft. However, it’s redundant as the King Air 350 blows other Turboprop out of the water. The King Air 350 is so widely popular due to its performance matching that of a midsize jet, for a fraction of the cost. So, to be accurate in comparisons, the King Air should be compared to the midsize jet market.
The King Air 350 cruises at 320 Knots per hour. Like many jets, the King Air 350 boasts a common altitude in the mid 30’s. With a range of more than 1,800 nautical miles, and with the previous mentioned speed, the King Air 350 crushes the Turboprop market. What sets it apart from the midsize jet market, is its ability to get in and out of smaller fields. In fact, thanks largely to its robust landing gear, the King Air 350 is able to complete missions to vastly inferior runways.
Thanks to it’s high rate of speed, superior range and luxurious creature comforts, the King Air 350 sits atop the throne of the Turboprop world. However, with similar performance numbers and operating costs being a fraction of the price compared to a midsize jet, the King Air 350 also makes for a stellar alternative to an expensive jet.