Textron Aviation has unveiled a new addition to the Beechcraft King Air family of turboprops – the King Air 360/360ER. Updates to the family’s flagship include a redesigned cabin and comfort improvements, as well as technological advances in the cockpit. The aircraft is already in production, with deliveries expected to begin later in 2020.
“The Beechcraft King Air 360 builds on decades of renowned versatility and reliability in the King Air family, and this upgrade further elevates it with the aircraft’s superior features and engineering advancements designed to create an enhanced flying experience for passengers and crew alike,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO at Textron Aviation. “The aircraft is a result of our extensive conversations with our turboprop customers worldwide as we continually increase innovation and next-generation capability to help them achieve their varied missions with greater comfort, technology and ease.”
The new aircraft has a cabin altitude of 5,960ft (1,817m) at a typical cruising altitude of 27,000ft (8,230m) – more than 10% lower than on the King Air 350i. Cabin altitude levels have been improved to provide greater comfort for passengers, especially during longer flights.
With seating for up to nine passengers, the latest King Air features a redesigned cabin with custom-built cabinetry, partitions and side ledges, upgraded materials and finishes, along with new interior schemes. Other amenities that come standard on the entire King Air line-up include pull-out work tables, standard power outlets, USB charging stations and a private aft lavatory.
“We created an environment that provides passengers with a greater sense of openness inside the King Air,” said Christi Tannahill, senior vice president of customer experience. “The cabin experience is such a critical element when choosing an aircraft, and it was important for us to surpass customer expectations. Their journey will not only be comfortable, but also a relaxing, enjoyable experience. The Beechcraft King Air 360 offers many of the amenities that our customers desire.”
A key feature of the King Air 360 cockpit is the addition of the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle. The autothrottle automatically manages engine power from the take-off roll through the climb, cruise, descent, go-around and landing phases of flight. This enhancement reduces pilot workload and supports them in their continuous vigilance to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions.
Another important update in the cockpit is the new digital pressurisation controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurisation during both climb and descent, which the company says reduces pilot workload and increases overall passenger comfort. The pressurisation gauges have been integrated with the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck.
Nearly 7,600 King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 62 million flight hours in its 56 years, serving in all branches of the US military and flying both commercial and special-mission roles around the world.