As one might expect, the evolution of the King Air Aircraft began with the creation of the BEECH AIRCRAFT CORPORATION. In 1932, Walter H. and Olive Ann Beech founded the company, with their first aircraft being the Model 17 Staggerwing. The intent of the craft was to meet the needs of business travelers, and the craft was so well constructed that it was actually quicker than many of the military pursuit planes of the day. In 1937 the Twin Beech, Model 18, was introduced. It was produced for thirty-three years, and was immediately recognized as a boon to the business-traveling world.
“By 1964,” Dale Wolcott, president of TURBINE TRAINING in Manhattan, Kansas, shared, “BEECH realized that they were going to have to upgrade their product to stay competitive in the marketplace and that to do so they were going to have to improve on their piston-engine crafts. As a result, their answer to the challenge was the King Air 90 Turbo-prop.”
Wolcott is most familiar with the Beech King Air products, as he and his staff provide King Air 90, 100, 200, and300 Training. In fact, to help facilitate their efforts on behalf of those pilots in need of either initial or recurrent King Air Training they utilize a FULL MOTION, King Air, MODEL SPECIFIC, simulator.
“Not only did BEECH accept the challenge,” Jason Wolcott, TURBINE TRAINING CENTER’s Vice President offered, “they developed a truly fantastic product.”
The first craft was powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-6 engine. It had a low-wing cantilever monoplane design; aluminum construction and a retractable tricycle landing gear. Seeking a “state-of-the-art” product they made such things as de-icing boots standard equipment (these were located on the leading edges of the wings, fin, and tail). It was constructed with two seats in the cockpit, and reclining passenger seats for four that faced each other in the cabin.
For passenger’s comfort they added soundproofing and air conditioning in the cabin as well. The two 500-hp turboprop engines provided for a range of over 1500 mile and could cruise at 270 mph, with a 27,400 “top ceiling.” As time went on Models expanded to include the 100, 200, 300, and 350 - with each and everyone of them striving to provide comfortable working environments for those traveling for business.