One of the most storied and famous of Beechcraft’s lines is the King Air. This aircraft family is comprised of many different lines of twin-turbopop aircraft including the Model 90 and the Model 100 series. Beechcraft’s King Air continues to be one of the very best selling models of aircraft in history, and has managed to outsell all other twin-turbopop competitors combined. The history of the King Air series began all the way back in 1961, and the King Air has grown in innovation and technology throughout the years while still upholding its respected name.
What is known today as the Model 90 King Air was once known as the Model 120 during its conception in the early years of the 1960’s. A few years later in 1963, Beechcraft made the necessary changes and updates to their Model 120 and began test flights of its new and improved Model 87 in May. By July, change to this concept had been made, and Beechcraft began first taking purchase orders for what they would then call the King Air. Those who ordered a King Air from Beechcraft would receive their aircraft in the fall of 1964, and within the next year, the demand for the King Air was beginning to outgrow the supply.
The Model 100 series of King Air was a later development from the Model 90, and this aircraft was created as a larger companion to the original Model 90, but both were based off of the same concept aircraft, the Model 120. The Model 100 Series of Beechcraft’s King Air aircrafts was first air-tested in 1969, around 5 years after the introduction of the Model 90, and this aircraft featured 5 cabin windows, rather than three, as well as an increased weight capacity.
During the 1970’s, the United States and Japanese militaries began to purchase aircrafts from the King Air line from Beechcraft, and used them for jobs such as air surveys and military deliveries. The very first Air Force One used by President Lyndon B Johnson was a Model B90 King Air purchased in “off-the-shelf” condition, showing that Beechcraft’s King Air series was not only prized for speed and innovation, but for comfort and safety as well.
The King Air series of aircraft by Beechcraft has continued to innovate and upgrade its technology and capabilities, allowing it to remain one of the best-selling personal aircraft models in present time.
For more information about King Airs and to stay current with all things King Air, Check out King Air Nation.