Beechcraft Corporation announced recently at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition that company pilots recently flew a standard production King Air 350ER aircraft nonstop between California’s Napa County Airport (KAPC) to Hawaii’s Honolulu International Airport (PHNL).
“This is the first time a King Air class airplane has made the California to Hawaii leg without additional ferry fuel tanks,” said Dan Keady, vice president, Special Missions. “We’ve been touting the King Air 350ER’s endurance, range, payload and mission flexibility, and now we’ve demonstrated the airplane’s unique deployment capabilities.”
The 2,121-nautical mile flight took eight hours, 52 minutes from Napa to Honolulu. The pilots reported full fuel on departure of 5,192 pounds, cruise altitude of 28,000 feet, average winds aloft produced headwinds from 237 degrees at 33 kts, average groundspeed of 240 kts and fuel at shutdown of 790 pounds.
The return flight from Honolulu to Napa covered 2,131 nm and took eight hours, 17 minutes. Fuel on departure was full at 5,192 pounds, cruise altitude was 31,000 feet then 33,000 feet for the final third of the flight, average winds aloft were 234 degrees at 15 kts, average groundspeed was 257 kts and fuel at shutdown was 900 pounds.
“Winds aloft on the return flight allowed us to fly higher,” Keady said. “After two-thirds of the flight at maximum range power, we pushed it up to 33,000 feet and maximum cruise power. Making these oceanic flights demonstrates that operators can go anywhere in the world without the need for installing internal ferry tanks. There are some government organizations that have rapid response requirements to be able to stage halfway around the world and be prepared to conduct operations on arrival. The King Air 350ER can do that without taking up cabin space with ferry tanks or the penalty of waiting for modifications or de-modifications.”
The aircraft used was the King Air 350ER Special Mission demonstrator. It is a standard extended-range (ER) airplane, which includes additional fuel capacity and increased capability landing gear allowing for 2,500 nautical mile range and take-off weight of 16,500 lbs. This aircraft’s unique interior configuration highlights the versatility and utility of the King Air family of aircraft with a four-seat executive club configuration complete with writing tables in the front cabin. Additionally, the large cabin provides ample room for the installation a fully functioning medical station complete with medical oxygen, vacuum and pressure, a medical cabinet and a side-facing, three-place couch for doctor/medical attendants to demonstrate the air ambulance configuration.