Hawker Beechcraft Eyes New Line Of Single Turboprops

By Kerry Lynch kerry_lynch@aviationweek.com

Source: AWIN First

Hawker Beechcraft is paving a future under which the newly restructured Beechcraft Corp. would offer a range of single-engine piston and turboprop aircraft alongside its King Airs -– and perhaps new twins, Shawn Vick, executive vice president-customers, says.

Hawker Beechcraft, which plans to emerge from bankruptcy early next year, has been working on a five-year product development plan that would build on its most profitable lines and position the company to move forward under the Beechcraft banner, company executives say.

Under the product development plan, the company’s product line would grow from six to as many as 10 products, including the possibility of three new single turboprops, Vick says. Long-term goals would have the company producing up to 600 aircraft a year, he adds.

In addition, he says the company -– which produces the piston twin-engine Baron and single-engine Bonanza aircraft — is planning to make its entire line Jet A capable, he says.

Hawker Beechcraft is gathering feedback on the first of these new aircraft, the Single-Engine Turboprop Concept, before moving into actual development. The concept aircraft would have the largest cabin in its class, based on the Premier fuselage, with seating for eight in double-club configuration or high density seating for 11. The concept also would have a 1,750-nm range and 300 kt. speed.

Vick says under a normal development plan, the aircraft could reach market by 2016. He adds that the company’s major lenders, who are positioned to take ownership of the company once it emerges from bankruptcy, are supporting strategies that would provide a long-term return.

As for the single-turboprop emphasis, he’s says the company’s customers base has long expressed interest in such aircraft, but Hawker Beechcraft had not been able to invest the necessary resources because of its financial problems.

The new owners, Boisture says, are well capitalized and the company will emerge from bankruptcy on a much stronger footing.

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