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Blackhawk debut brings Capital gains as businesses cut spending
Exeter-based Capital Air Charter reports that it has successfully begun chartering the first commercially registered Blackhawk B200 in Europe from its UK headquarters.

Exeter-based Capital Air Charter reports that it has successfully begun chartering the first commercially registered Blackhawk B200 in Europe from its UK headquarters.

Malcolm Humphries, md and chief pilot, says: "This nine-seater executive aircraft, a heavily modified version of the popular Super King Air B200 twin turboprop, is faster, more fuel efficient, has a longer range and shorter take-off and landing capacity than ever before."

He adds: "The B200 has always been able to carry more people at lower cost on typical European routes than comparative executive jets. However, because of its relatively low cruising speeds, some pundits predicted it would lose out due to the advent of new VLJs and other cost-effective twin jets promising to carry three to five passengers around Europe at high speed and low cost."

But Humphries points out that the new Blackhawk aircraft, with uprated Pratt & Whitney PT6A-61 engines, BLR winglets, Raisbeck streamlining modifications and Frakes exhausts, climbs more quickly to cruising altitude, and once there cruises at speeds of well over 300 knots.

"This means that, as well as providing more seats, space, comfort and baggage carrying capacity than comparative aircraft, European flight times now compete directly with VLJs and other more traditional executive jets such as, for example, the Cessna Citation series," he says.

"The new aircraft is already well proven in the US and is incredibly popular with owners and charter operators there; however Capital's aircraft is the first on the European commercial register."

Humphries adds: "The King Air has always been a great machine, but the Blackhawk makes the perfect European executive transport. Our executive and air ambulance clients have been delighted with this latest addition to the fleet and are now enjoying significantly reduced journey times and extended practical range. The Blackhawk B200 allows Capital, for the first time, to fly to the limits of its AOC region, and this includes locations in Egypt, Russia - including St Petersburg - and North Africa." Performance statistics to date, he reports, are excellent. "For example, a trip from Bristol to Cannes would take close to three hours in the King Air B200. The Blackhawk will get up to eight passengers there in just two hours and 15 minutes, with no difference in price."

Humphries adds: "In these difficult financial times, when both private individuals and companies are looking carefully at their European travel budgets, it is easy to market the cost, comfort and speed advantages of our new Blackhawk." Based at Exeter airport, Capital Air Charter employs more than 30 pilots and ground crew, with nine aircraft based across the UK. Operations range from European private air charter to emergency medical transfers and urgent freight deliveries.

See also Capital Aviation lands aeromedical contract in EBAN February 2009.

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