July 1, 2012
Robert A Searles
The King Air F90 and F90-1 were produced between 1979 and 1985. The F90s were faster than their predecessors, thanks to a more powerful version of the Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine.
The F90 actually is a “hybrid” King Air in that it combines the fuselage and wings of the King Air E90 with the T-tail of the King Air 200. The F90 is powered by PT6A-135s, utilizes Hartzell four-blade propellers to reduce noise, was the first King Air to incorporate a multi-bus electrical system, and has an enhanced pressurization system that provides a sea-level cabin to higher than 11,000 feet.
Deliveries of the F90 began in mid-1979 and continued through 1983, when the F90-1 was introduced. The F90-1 features PT6A-135A engines, which provide improved performance compared to the PT6A-135 that powers the F90. While both powerplants are flat-rated to 750 shaft horsepower, the -135A offers 885 shaft horsepower at max takeoff power, compared to 850 shaft horsepower for the -135. The F90-1 also has redesigned low-drag cowlings. A Collins avionics package, including the APS-80 autopilot, was standard equipment.
Seattle’s Raisbeck Engineering offers a number of popular performance products for the F90, including the Raisbeck/Hartzell quiet turbofan propeller system, dual aft-body strakes, high-flotation gear doors (for F90s equipped with high-flotation landing gear), and nacelle wing lockers.
Blackhawk Modifications provides a bolt-on engine upgrade for the F90 that involves replacing the aircraft’s original PT6A-135 powerplants with factory-new PT6A-135As. Benefits include increased true airspeed, rate of climb, and single-engine service ceiling—along with decreased time and fuel to climb, lower operating costs, and increased resale value.
A total of 236 aircraft (203 F90s and 33 F90-1s) were built, and 137 remain on the FAA registry. Current Vref prices for the aircraft range from $725,000 for a 1979 Model F90 to $1,225,000 for a 1985 Model F90-1.
Robert A. Searles is a writer specializing in commercial, military, and general aviation.
King Air F90
King Air F90-1
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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