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Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we provide information on a selection of pre-owned business turboprops in the $3.5-3.6 million range for the purpose of valuing the pre-owned Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350. We’ll consider the usual productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size - and cover current and future market values. The field in this study includes the Piaggio Avanti P180.

The King Air family is part of a line of twin-engine turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air family has been in continuous production since 1974- the longest production run of any civilian turboprop aircraft in its class. It has outlasted all of its previous competitors and the only other aircraft in its class is the Piaggio Avanti.

The King Air 350 is essentially a King Air model 300 with a 34-inch longer fuselage- 41 inch longer wing span- 1-000 lbs additional MGTOW and two extra cabin windows on each side. Winglets have also been added to the wingtips to reduce drag and increase range.

The first deliveries of the King Air 350 (initially marketed as the Super King Air 350) took place in 1990. The 'Super' part of the title was dropped in 1996. The King Air 350 was built until 2009- while the Piaggio Avanti was manufactured from 1990 to 2005.

The King Air 350 aircraft can be RVSM certified when service bulletin SB-34-3507 is complied with. Current in-production models are the King Air 350i- and King Air 350ER.

The data contained in Table A is published in B&CA Magazine- May 2011 and 2004 issues (May 2011 did not include information for the older Avanti P180)- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker.

As mentioned in past articles- a potential operator should focus on payload capability. The King Air 350 “Available payload with Maximum Fuel” at 1-604 pounds offers twice the payload as the Avanti P180 (798 pounds).

According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the King Air 350 at 355 cubic feet- is smaller by 20 cubic feet than the Avanti P180 at 375 cubic feet (Chart A).

The King Air 350 aircraft utilizes two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines rated at 1-050 Shaft Horse Power (SHP). By comparison- the Avanti has two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 engines rated at 850 SHP. Using data published in the August 2010 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our aircraft. Jet-A fuel cost was $4.90 per gallon at press time for the August 2010 edition- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

Note: The fuel price used from this source does not represent an average fuel price for the year.

Chart B details “Cost per Mile” comparing the King Air 350 at $2.80 per mile to the Avanti P180 at $2.52 per mile factoring direct costs and with both aircraft flying a 600nm mission with an 800 pound (four passengers) payload. The King Air 350 is more expensive per mile by 11%.

The “Total Variable Cost” illustrated in Chart C- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense and Miscellaneous trip expense. The total variable cost for the King Air 350 at $833 is less than the Avanti P180 at $872.

The points in Chart D center on the same two aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in Vref. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary.

Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors.

1. Range with full payload and available fuel;
2. The long range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities

The result is a very large number so for the purpose of charting- each result is divided by one billion. The examples plotted are confined to the aircraft in this study. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight- but when both turboprops are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters- but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size.

After consideration of the Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size- we can conclude that the King Air 350- as shown in the productivity index Chart D- is very competitive compared with the Avanti P180.

Table B contains the relative retail prices from Vref for each aircraft in 2005. The number of aircraft in-operation and the percentage “For Sale” are from JETNET. As shown- the King Air 350 has a lower percentage of the existing fleet “For Sale” at 7.1% than the Avanti P180 at 14.3%. The last column highlights the number (and fleet percentage) of each aircraft used in fractional operations. The Avanti P180 appears to be far more popular among fractional owners.

Sourcing information from a new software program called Aircraft Cost Calculator (www.aircraftcostcalculator.com) we have broken down the Annual Operating Cost percentages (Chart E) for a used 10-yearold King Air 350 aircraft. This tool is designed to enable you to quickly analyze- compare- simplify and customize any fixed or variable cost that will provide accurate operating numbers specific for your own aircraft and/or flight department.

We utilized a feature in the program that split 400 hours per year between 130 hours (1/3 use) in Private Operations (Part 91) and 270 hours (2/3 use) in Charter Operations (Part 135). We used an hourly charter revenue rate of $1-500 owner’s effective rate* which resulted in a significantly reduced hourly cost for the Owner’s Part 91 Hours flown (Table C).

Table D shows the location of the King Air 350 by Continent- as sourced from JETNET. North America has the majority of King Air 350s with 65%- or 408 aircraft.

Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as airport performance- terminal area performance- and time to climb performance that might factor in a buying decision- too- however.

The Hawker Beechcraft King Air 350 turboprop aircraft fares well against its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the King Air 350 aircraft will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market.

For more information: Michael Chase is president of Chase & Associates- and can be contacted at 1628 Snowmass Place- Lewisville- TX 75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.com

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