Beechcraft has a long history of providing special-mission platforms for military intelligence and security programs, reaching back to the late 1950s. Today this business remains highly important to the company, based largely on the King Air family that has become a popular choice of platforms for special-mission duties. Now the company is broadening its portfolio by offering the smaller and cheaper Baron G58 as an ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) platform, and has already delivered the first example to a customer.
Boeing and the U.S. Army completed the first flight of an enhanced medium-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss) aircraft in late May. The modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER is the first of four Emarss engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft that Boeing is developing for the Army.
The FAA issued a supplemental type certificate (STC) to Avidyne covering installation of the company’s DFC90 autopilot in 25 Beechcraft Bonanza models. The STC requires interfacing with the Aspen Avionics EVD1000 Evolution Pro PFD. The DFC90 autopilot is a plug-and-play replacement of the S-Tec 55X autopilot and uses the 55X’s servos. The DFC90 can also replace S-Tec 30/50/60-2/65-series autopilots in the 25 Bonanza models covered by this STC.
For the first time since the end of 2006, quarterly deliveries of business jets, turboprops and piston-powered aircraft finished in the positive, according to first-quarter 2013 statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “We are pleased to see a shift to the positive for GA airplanes, which extends across all airplane segments,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce.
Beechcraft promoted Dave Rosenberg to vice president of strategic planning and programs and Don Alvord to vice president of human resources. In his new role, Rosenberg will be responsible for the company’s strategic planning and programs, including management of commercial product development programs and analysis of joint ventures and potential acquisitions. He was the director of the Hawker 4000 and piston-line general manager.
Farnborough, UK-based Gama Support Services has been named a Beechcraft authorized service center. Under the terms of the agreement the MRO is authorized to provide maintenance support and certification for the King Air, Bonanza and Baron series. It also provides for AOG service for all Beechcraft types; Gama’s in-house quick-reaction team for urgent operational support to Beechcraft operators worldwide; avionics support for Garmin and Rockwell Collins; and Hawker Beechcraft Support Plus program and warranty claims processing.
Beechcraft has appointed Kingsley Okoli regional sales director for Sub-Saharan Africa, the company announced on Tuesday. Based in Nigeria, Okoli spent 13 years in the U.S. Air Force, including work that involved the West Africa region and the Nigerian air force.
Hawker Beechcraft Services facilities are now authorized installation centers for the CenTex Halo 250 gross weight increase modification for the Beechcraft King Air 200. The conversion adds 920 pounds of payload capacity by increasing the mtow of 200-series King Airs to 13,420 pounds from 12,500.
CenTex Aerospace of Waco, Texas, developed the modification and received FAA certification last October.
During EBACE Beechcraft has delivered a G58 Baron to SaxonAir, a Norwich, UK-based charter company that also has bases at Biggin Hill and Cannes, France. The Baron will be used for company transportation and will also be available for charter. SaxonAir’s fleet includes the Hawker 900XP and 400XP, a King Air 350, two Citation Mustangs and Eurocopter EC120 and EC135 helicopters.
KingAirNation (KAN), the year-old website devoted to Beechcraft King Air series turboprops and those who love them, launched a section on its site for European members of KAN seeking Euro-centric King Air news. Labeled “KAN Europe,” it is now live on the KingAirNation site.
“We have been planning this for a while, and it is still going to be somewhat of a work in progress while we aggregate more European King Air news,” said KAN founder Danny Carpenter, “but we could not be happier for being able to roll out a new feature our members have been asking for.”