- 01 Jul 2023
- Mike Chase
- Turboprop Comparisons
Since 1964, the world-renowned twin-engine King Air turboprops have been produced by Beechcraft. Initially known as the King Air (series 90 and 100) and Super King Air (series 200 and 300) well over 3,000 have been produced over the years. Today, Beechcraft is a brand of Textron Aviation.
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A Beechcraft King Air costs $3.7m for a King Air C90GTx 2020 model, and $8.5m for a new 2022 King Air 360 (unequipped), according to Aircraft Bluebook’s Spring 2023 data. Buyers can buy a used King Air turboprop for less, with the price ultimately depending on the model, age and condition of the aircraft. For example, Aircraft Bluebook’s Spring 2023 data shows that a 2010-model King Air C90GTx retails for an average of $2.6m, while a 2000-model King Air B200 costs $2.8m. A much older 1980-model King Air 200 costs $1.45m.
As of April 2023 there were 6,171 King Airs flying worldwide, per JETNET. The King Air B200 has the largest in-operation fleet, with 1,032 units in operation. At the time of writing, there had been 1,637 Beechcraft King Air retirements from a total 7,837 units built.
Beechcraft King Airs offer maximum ranges between 900nm for the King Air C90, up to 2,365nm for the King Air 350iER, according to Conklin & de Decker, based on four passengers and available fuel aboard.
There are few other twin-engine turboprop models in production today. However, one model that competes directly with the King Air 350iER is the Piaggio Avanti EVO.
Beechcraft Turboprops Overview
By Gerrard Cowan - Editor, Aircraft Reviews
The Beechcraft King Air is an iconic name in the twin-engine turboprop market. Now part of the Textron family, King Air aircraft continue to offer Business Aviation operators a strong combination of range, power, and comfort.
King Air 90-Series
The legendary series started in 1960s with the King Air 90, a six-seater aircraft powered by two PT6A-6 engines. From these beginnings, the King Air was born, and has continued to evolve for almost 60 years, progressing through a range of models that brought numerous upgrades in power and performance.
The King Air A90 followed the original model, before production of the King Air B90 began, eventually leading to the King Air C90 in 1971. This brought increases in wingspan, maximum take-off weight and range. There were a number of other evolutions in the family over the decades, including the King Air C90-1, the C90B and the C90SE, before the company revealed the King Air C90GT in 2005, a platform that brought operators PT6A-135A engines and even greater speed and power performance.
The most modern entrant to this line is the Beechcraft King Air C90GTx, which arrived on the market in 2015. A true workhorse of the twin turboprop world, the C90GTx typically seats five passengers in executive configuration, and has a Collins Proline Fusion system in the cockpit.
The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 engines, meanwhile. Textron ceased production in 2021, bringing the line to an end after many decades of success.
King Air 200 Series
The King Air 100 model developed from the King Air 90-series, and offered many of the same features in a larger package. The aircraft eventually evolved into the Beechcraft King Air 200, which was developed in the 1970s in response to customer demand for a larger aircraft in the King Air family.
The King Air 200 had the fuselage of the earlier King Air 100, but with a T-tail, longer wings and 12,500lbs gross weight. The twin-engine King Air 200 is powered by two 850shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-41 engines.
Just as there were with the 90-series, there have since been a range of aircraft in the King Air 200 line. The Beechcraft King Air B200 entered production in the 1980s, bringing a range of improvements that ensured the twin turboprop performed at its highest level yet. It had a range of up to 1,000nm, thanks partly to its two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42 engines.
The B200 received a number of enhancements (including the Super King Air B200SE, launched in the 1990s), and its avionics were upgraded over the years, eventually featuring the Pro Line 21 system from Rockwell Collins.
The King Air B200GT, launched in 2008, introduced new 850shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-52 engines, and was replaced by the Beechcraft King Air 250 which was launched in 2010, and offered an impressive top range of over 1,500nm, and the ability to carry a maximum of six passengers and two crew members.
The current model in the range is the Beechcraft King Air 260, which has a maximum range of 1,720nm and holds up to nine occupants. Textron highlights this aircraft’s ability to reduce pilot workload through digital pressurization and the Thrustsense autothrottle system.
King Air 300-Series
At the top end of the Beechcraft King Air family are the 300-series aircraft. The Beechcraft King Air 300 range was developed in the 1980s as a derivative of the 200-series. The King air 300 was like the King Air B200 in a number of ways, but it utilized more powerful 1,050shp PT6A-60A engines and offered a higher take-off weight.
This eventually led to the Beechcraft King Air 350, which featured longer wings with winglets, a longer fuselage, and a number of other enhancements. It can carry up to 11 passengers, but usually accommodates eight, and has a maximum range of around 1,500nm.
The modern entry to the 300 line is the Beechcraft King Air 360, which entered service in late 2020 and has a range of enhancements, including the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle and a new digital pressurization controller.
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