May 12, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Maybe we are, and maybe we aren’t—but it would be just like us if we were. That seems to be the answer this week from Hawker Beechcraft officials when asked to confirm reports that they are developing a single-engine turboprop.
Reports first emerged from industry sources during an aviation trade show in Geneva, Switzerland, last month. Last week, AOPA asked the company to confirm the reports, and got this reply May 11.
“The company has made no such announcement,” a company representative said. “However, as Shawn Vick is quoted in the story as saying, the $2-4 million end of the market is very robust with multiple aircraft and aircraft types already announced or in the market.
“Hawker Beechcraft’s well-planned and executed product development strategy over the last decade has included bringing to market 18 clean sheet and/or derivative products. While the company will not comment on any specific product development programs, there is no reason to believe we are not looking to do the same moving forward.”
Let’s take that as a “yes.” The company last flirted with the idea of a single-engine turboprop from 1982 to 1984 when it put a turboprop engine on the front of a Beech Baron, fastened wings to it, and called it the Beechcraft 38P Lightning. A dip in the economy killed the project. Apparently, the current dip in the economy has re-ignited interest.
Reports indicate the new design is based on a King Air 200 aircraft.
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