The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation (now the Beechcraft Division of Hawker Beechcraft). The King Air line comprises a number of model series that fall into two families: the Model 90 series, Model 100 series (these models comprising the King Air family), Model 200 series and Model 300 series. The latter two models were originally marketed as the "Super King Air" family, but the "Super" was dropped in 1996.
The Super 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 as of 2009 the only other aircraft in its class is the Piaggio Avanti. As of December 2009, the B200, B200GT and the larger B300 are the production models. Special mission derivative versions of these models are also available for order. The Beechcraft 1900 regional airliner was derived from the Model B200 King Air.
The 200 series proved so popular that Beechcraft began work on a successor, with the Beechcraft designation Model 300 and marketed as the "Super King Air 300". The B200's airframe was "cleaned up" and even more powerful engines (PT6A-60A, rated at 1050 shp) installed in redesigned cowlings (known as "pitot cowlings" due to the reshaped engine air intakes), with MTOW increased to 14,000 lb (6,300 kg). A Model 200 (c/no. BB-343) was modified to develop the updated systems to be used on the new model and flew in this configuration on 6 October 1981. The first flight of the prototype Model 300 took place on 3 September 1983 and deliveries commenced the following year. Because not all nations would then allow an aircraft of this type to be certified at an MTOW greater than 12,500 lb (5,700 kg), the Model 300LW was also developed at the same time, limited to the lower MTOW. Nineteen examples of a special version of the Model 300 were delivered to the FAA in 1987 and 1988. The first two were conversions of standard Model 300s, while the remaining 17 were purpose-built; since they were delivered the FAA has used the fleet to check the extensive network of navaids in the United States. 200 and 300 Series King Airs are or have been used for similar duties in several other countries, including Australia, Germany, Hong Kong (a B200C used for navaid calibration was the first aircraft to land at the then-new Chek Lap Kok Airport in 1996), Sweden and Taiwan.
By 1988, Beechcraft had begun work on the replacement for the 300. The fuselage of the 300 was stretched by nearly three feet with two extra cabin windows on each side and winglets added to the wingtips to create the Model B300, introduced in 1990 and initially marketed as the "Super King Air 350". MTOW was increased again to 15,000 lb (6,750 kg); as the same regulatory situation that led to the development of the 300LW still existed, that model continued to be produced until 1994. Like the 200 and B200 before it, a version with a large cargo door was developed, the Model B300C marketed as the "Super King Air 350C". The first deliveries of this model also took place in 1990. In 1998 the UltraQuiet active noise canceling system made by Ultra Electronics was added as standard equipment on all B300s. In October 2003 Beechcraft announced that it would deliver future B300 and B300C King Airs with the Rockwell Collins Proline 21 avionics suite.
The B300 model is still in production today (now marketed simply as the "King Air 350", the "Super" being dropped in 1996 as mentioned earlier), while the B300C is available for order; four were built in 2007 and Hawker Beechcraft announced on 11 November 2007 that it would deliver five to Saudi Arabia in 2008 for use as air ambulances.
Cruise speed: 568 km/h
Total range: 3 630 km
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A60A
Wingspan: 16.61 m
Length: 13.36 m
Height: 4.37 m
Length: 5.12 m
Width: 1.4 m
Height: 1.49 m
Passengers: up to 6
Baggage capacity: 1.6 cubic m