Textron Aviation is launching a new era for its Beechcraft King Air 200 series aircraft with the introduction of the Beechcraft King Air 260 turboprop. Featuring the latest technological advancements to the cockpit and improvements in the cabin, the King Air 260 reflects the company's continued commitment to making substantial investments to its product line. Assembly production for the King Air 260 is already under way, and certification and deliveries are expected in early 2021. The announcement comes on the heels of the recently introduced Beechcraft King Air 360, which achieved FAA type certification in October.
The King Air 260 combines the platform's history of rugged reliability and versatility with upgrades and next-generation capability, offering a greater ease of flying. Key enhancements to the aircraft are the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle, along with a new digital pressurisation controller. The cockpit also offers the Collins Aerospace Multi-Scan weather radar system as a standard feature on every King Air 260.
“These investments reflect our commitment to providing superior upgrades and engineering innovation that create the best flying experience for Beechcraft King Air 260 owners and operators around the world,” says Ron Draper, president and CEO. “We place an immense value on our conversations with our customers, and the investments we make in our aircraft are a direct result of listening to their input. I'm proud of the impressive effort by our team for taking a legendary aircraft and adding technological advancements that will allow customers to achieve their varied missions.”
The new model has an occupancy of up to nine, a maximum range of 1,720 nm and a top cruise speed of 310 kts. The ThrustSense Autothrottle supports pilots in their mission of delivering people or cargo by automatically managing engine power from the takeoff roll through the climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight. This enhancement reduces pilot workload and is designed to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions.
Another key update in the cockpit is the new digital pressurisation controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurisation during both climb and descent, reducing pilot workload and increasing overall passenger comfort. The pressurisation gauges have been integrated with the powerful Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck.
The Collins Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar provides pilots with a fully automatic system that it optimised to detect short, mid and long-range weather. The system is designed to present an accurate picture of the weather around the aircraft, further reducing pilot workload.
“The Beechcraft King Air lineup is the most popular business turboprop in the world,” states Rob Scholl, senior VP of sales and flight operations for Textron. “It's essential for us to continue exploring ways to bring innovation to such a renowned aircraft, and these enhancements will allow owners and operators to accomplish their various missions with greater comfort, technology and ease.”
The cabin features newly designed seats created through an innovative pressure-mapping process that identifies ways to provide a more comfortable, relaxing journey for passengers, especially on longer flights.
Close to 7,600 King Airs have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964, making it the best-selling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 62 million flight hours in its 56 years, serving roles in all branches of the US military and flying both commercial and special mission roles around the world.
Textron has also announced STC approval of the IS&S ThrustSense autothrottle on Pro Line Fusion-equipped Beechcraft King Air 200 series aircraft including new production Beechcraft King Air 260 turboprops. STC approval on Pro Line 21-equipped Beechcraft King Air 300 series aircraft is anticipated soon.
“We know King Air pilots are already exceptional in their commitment to maintaining the utmost vigilance, and we are delighted to offer the IS&S autothrottle to select Pro-Line and Fusion-equipped King Air 200 and 300-series customers,” says Brian Rohloff, senior VP of customer support. “This enhancement further supports these pilots in their continuous observance to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions.”
STC approval of Garmin G1000 NXi-equipped Beechcraft King Air C90, 200 and 300 series turboprops is expected early next year.