With more than 5,000 delivered, there is no other turbine-powered business aircraft that can match the success of the Beech King Air. At times, nearly 90 percent of the cabin-class turboprops in the world have been King Airs. Designed as a turbine-powered alternative to the Queen Air, the King Air eventually supplanted the Queen Air as the number one choice in executive turboprops.
The King Air in all its variants is a beautiful airplane with classic styling and graceful lines. Many of the improvements over the years have provided better aerodynamic efficiency, increased muscle under the cowlings, greater speed, upgraded avionics and electrical systems, and increased cabin luxury. In addition to duties as a corporate shuttle, the plane is also available in cargo configurations.
A significant design change that would set the tone for future models in the line was the Model 200 Super King Air. A swept T-tail design was adopted, allowing the stabilizer and elevator to operate in relatively smooth, undisturbed air, out of the wing’s downwash. It also gave the King Air a rakish new look. The length, wingspan, and power were increased, resulting in a greater useful load. The plane carried eight passengers in a pressurized cabin altitude of 6,740 feet at 25,000 feet.
Along with other improvements, Beech experimented with putting turbofan engines on the King Air. A test bed was flown with this modification, but the idea was never put into production.
The latest derivative of the King Air is the Model 350. With the most powerful engines on a King Air to date (1,050 shaft horsepower) and a fuselage 34 inches longer than the Model 300, the 350 sits at the pinnacle of a great lineage. It can seat up to 11 passengers in double-club chair arrangements that are standard in this plush airplane. A small galley and an in-flight entertainment system provide a level of comfort King Air customers have come to expect. Distinctive winglets are the most obvious external feature that make the 350 easy to distinguish from its King Air siblings on the airport ramp.
The entire King Air line is characterized by a great basic design that has only improved over the decades. It is a legend that continues to be a top pick for corporate flight operations. The King Air is a plane that richly deserves its regal moniker.
The elegant King Air is a high-performance, pressurized-cabin, twin-engine, turboprop airplane. Most often employed as a corporate transport, it usually seats from 9 to 11 (although it’s certified for up to 17 people). The structure is distinguished by its efficient wing and NASA-designed winglets. The T-tail on the Super King Airs was designed to provide improved aerodynamics, lighter control forces, and a wider center-of-gravity range.
Many a young pilot has stepped up from more lowly positions to corporate flying in the right seat of a King Air. Piloting the beautiful Beech is a good transition toward the more complex world of turbine engines and larger aircraft.
|Cruise Speed||315 knots 363 mph||583 km per hour|
|Engines||Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A 1,050 shaft horsepower|
|Maximum Range||1,765 nm VFR 1,582 nm IFR 1,648 miles||3,509 km|
|Service Ceiling||35,000 feet||10,668 meters|
|Fuel Capacity||539 U.S. gallons||2,040 liters|
|Maximum Gross Weight||15,000 pounds||6818 kilograms|
|Length||46.7 feet||14.23 meters|
|Wingspan||57.9 feet||17.65 meters|
|Height||14.3 feet||4.36 meters|
|Seating||Up to 11|
|Useful Load||5,910 pounds||2,681 kilograms|
Many factors affect flight planning and aircraft operation, including aircraft weight, weather, and runway surface. The recommended flight parameters listed below are intended to give approximations for flights at maximum takeoff or landing weight under ISA conditions. These instructions are no substitute, however, for using the actual aircraft manual.
Important: These instructions are intended for use with Flight Simulator only and are no substitute for using the actual aircraft manual for real-world flight.
Note: As with all of the Flight Simulator aircraft, the V-speeds and checklists are located on the Kneeboard. To access the Kneeboard while flying, press SHIFT+F10, or on theAircraft menu, click Kneeboard.
Note: All speeds given in Flight Notes are indicated airspeeds. If you’re using these speeds as reference, be sure that you select “Display Indicated Airspeed” in the Realism Settings dialog box. Speeds listed in the specifications table are shown as true airspeeds.
By default, this aircraft has full fuel and payload. Depending on atmospheric conditions, altitude, and other factors, you will not get the same performance at gross weight that you would with a lighter load.
Required Runway Length
Takeoff: 4,193 feet, flaps up
Landing: 3,300 feet, approach flaps extended
The length required for both takeoff and landing is a result of a number of factors, such as aircraft weight, altitude, headwind, use of flaps, and ambient temperature. The figures here are conservative and assume:
Weight: 15,000 pounds (6,804 kilograms)
Altitude: sea level
Wind: no headwind
Runway: hard surface
Lower weights and temperatures will result in better performance, as will having a headwind component. Higher altitudes and temperatures will degrade performance.
The engines are running by default when you begin a flight. If you shut the engines down, it is possible to initiate an auto-startup sequence by pressing CTRL+E on your keyboard. If you want to do the startup procedures manually, follow the checklist procedures on the Kneeboard.
The propellers on the King Air 350 will automatically feather on engine shutdown and unfeather when the engines are started.
The power levers on the King Air control engine power, from idle to takeoff power, by controlling N1. Increasing N1 increases engine power. The power levers have three regions: Forward Thrust, Ground Fine, and Reverse. When moved into the Reverse region, the levers control both engine power and propeller blade angle.
The propeller levers are operated forward and aft for setting the required rpm for various phases of flight. The normal range is from 1450 to 1700 rpm. To feather a propeller manually, move the prop lever (pressCTRL+F2, or drag the prop levers) back into the red-and-white striped section of the quadrant (autofeather is on by default and will take care of feathering in the event of an engine failure).
The condition levers have three positions: Fuel Cutoff, Low Idle, and Hi Idle. At Low Idle, the N1 range is from a minimum of 62 percent to a maximum of 104 percent. At Hi Idle, the range is from 70 percent to 104 percent. Low Idle is the condition setting for 99 percent of the King Air’s operating range.
The normal power setting for taxiing is the Ground Fine setting (press F2 on the keyboard, or drag the power levers). For normal operation on the ground when the props are not in feather, the rpm should be maintained above 1050. The prop levers should be set to maintain rpm above 1050 or below 400 while on the ground to avoid propeller resonance. Sustained operation in feather at engine idle should be avoided. Monitor interstage turbine temperature (ITT) to avoid exceeding ground-operations temperature limits of 750 C.
Unless the runway is short, a no-flaps takeoff is standard for the King Air. On the King Air 350, available flap settings are Up, Approach, or Down. The flaps cannot be stopped at an intermediate point between these positions. See the Kneeboard for the flap operating speeds.
Run through the Before Takeoff checklist. With the aircraft aligned with the runway centerline, check that the propeller levers are full forward and that the condition levers are in Low Idle (press CTRL+SHIFT+F2, or drag the levers).
Advance the power levers to 100 percent N1, and monitor the ITT during the takeoff roll (it should remain at or below 750 C).
Directional control is maintained by use of the rudder pedals (twist the joystick, use the rudder pedals, or press 0 [left] or ENTER [right] on the numeric keypad).
V1, approximately 105 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS), is decision speed. Above this speed, it may not be possible to stop the aircraft on the runway in case of a rejected takeoff (RTO).
At Vr, approximately 110 KIAS, smoothly pull the stick back (use the joystick or yoke, or press the DOWN ARROW) to raise the nose to 10 degrees above the horizon.
At V2, approximately 117 KIAS, the aircraft has reached its takeoff safety speed. This is the minimum safe flying speed should an engine fail. Hold this speed until you get a positive rate of climb.
As soon as the aircraft is showing a positive rate of climb on liftoff (both vertical speed and altitude are increasing), retract the landing gear (press G, or drag the landing gear lever).
Set climb power to approximately 90 percent N1 (press F2, use the throttle control on your joystick, or drag the thrust levers). Set the prop rpm to 1600. Turn the synchrophaser on (click the Prop Synch button). Maintain 6- or 7-degrees nose-up pitch attitude to climb to your cruising altitude. Your indicated airspeed will vary in a climb as you hold a constant power setting and pitch attitude. Expect it to read approximately:
|Sea level to 10,000||170 KIAS|
|10,000 to 15,000||160 KIAS|
|15,000 to 20,000||150 KIAS|
|20,000 to 25,000||140 KIAS|
|25,000 to 30,000||130 KIAS|
|35,000 to 40,000||120 KIAS|
Cruise altitude would normally be determined by winds, weather, and other factors. You might want to use these factors in your flight planning if you have created weather systems along your route. Optimum altitude is the altitude that gives the best fuel economy for a given configuration and gross weight. A complete discussion about choosing altitudes is beyond the scope of this section.
Let’s say you’ve filed a flight plan for FL 300. Approaching your cruising altitude, begin leveling off at about 50 feet (15 meters) below your target altitude.
You’ll find it’s much easier to operate the King Air in cruise if you use the autopilot. The autopilot can hold your specified altitude, speed, heading, VOR course, and more. For more information on using the autopilot, see Using an Autopilot.
A typical power setting in the King Air for the parameters chosen here is 66 percent on the torque (percent) gauge. That will give you a fuel flow of around 575 pounds per hour (PPH) and an indicated airspeed of 185 knots. The propeller levers should be set to maintain 1500 rpm.
Remember that your true airspeed is actually much higher in the thin, cold air. Experiment with power settings to find the one that maintains the cruise speed and fuel consumption you want at the altitude you choose.
A good descent profile includes knowing when to start down from cruise altitude and planning ahead for the approach. Normal descent is done using idle thrust and clean configuration (no speed brakes). A good rule for determining when to start your descent is the 3-to-1 rule (three miles distance per thousand feet in altitude). Take your altitude in feet, drop the last three zeros, and multiply by 3.
For example, to descend from a cruise altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) to sea level:
30,000 minus the last three zeros is 30.
30 x 3=90.
This means you should begin your descent 90 nautical miles from your destination, maintaining a speed of 250 KIAS (it won’t indicate this high until you descend into denser air), and a descent rate of 1,500 feet per minute. Add two extra miles for every 10 knots of tailwind, if applicable.
In the King Air, adjust thrust during descent to maintain 250 KIAS or VMO, whichever is less (use the joystick throttle, or press F2 to decrease thrust and F3 to increase thrust). The propeller levers should remain at 1500 rpm.
The King Air performance manual says that this descent profile will take 20 minutes, 103 miles, and 245 pounds of fuel.
As you near the approach phase of flight, begin to bring the power back to around 55 percent torque or less, so that you’re below 180 KIAS by your initial approach fix (use the joystick throttle, or press F2).
At the final approach fix, bring the power back to 30 percent torque, and your speed will start slowing towards 140 KIAS. Verify that the autofeather is armed (click the Autofeather switch into the ARM position).
When you intercept the glideslope or enter the downwind, set the flaps to Approach (press F6, or click the flap lever) and put the landing gear down (press G, or click the landing gear lever).
Bring the power back to 25 percent torque. Adjust power as you near the threshold to reduce speed to a target landing speed of 109 KIAS.
At around 300 feet (91 meters) AGL, continue reducing power. If you’ve broken out on an ILS or the landing is assured on a visual approach, set flaps to Full.
As you cross the threshold at around 50 feet (15 meters) AGL, the power should be at 10 percent torque. (You can actually come back to idle power at this point, but the King Air will settle rather quickly. The best technique is to hold 10 percent torque until the main gear are on the pavement.)
Raise the nose slightly to flare and slow the descent rate. Once the King Air mains are down, bring the power back to idle and hold some back pressure on the controls (hold the joystick aft, or press the DOWN ARROW). The nose on the King Air tends to start down right away on touchdown, so you’ll want to hold some back pressure to bring it down gently.
The King Air decelerates rapidly on landing. Once the nose gear is on the runway, move the propeller levers into the bottom of the Ground Fine range (press CTRL+F2, or drag the levers).
There’s no need to use the full reverse propeller setting on landing unless the runway is short. If you’re performing a short-field landing, move the propeller levers into Reverse once the nose gear is on the ground.
Apply the brakes (press the PERIOD key). Move the propeller levers to Ground Fine, exit the runway, and taxi to parking.