March 22, 2012
By Jim Moore
The Beechcraft Baron G58 may get a new mission: spy plane.
The venerable Baron 58, Hawker Beechcraft's last and arguably the greatest of the light piston twins, a general aviation mainstay, may get a new mission as a spy plane, according to Hawker Beechcraft officials.
First introduced in 1969, the Baron 58 (now the G58, with the addition of a glass cockpit on new models) is a slightly larger cousin of the Baron 55 introduced in 1961, and remains in production to the present day. The piston twin is known for its ramp presence and its steady flight characteristics, and can manage a useful load of 1,504 pounds. As modern electronics have slimmed down, the potential for configuring the long-serving Baron for airborne intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance missions has emerged.
Jay Gibson, vice president of special missions at Hawker Beechcraft, said the Baron could soon join the King Air turboprops and other models already in service for military and intelligence applications.
“With available modern technology sensors, we continue to look for ways to further develop and enhance our entire line of products to demonstrate ISR capabilities—including the Baron G58,” Gibson said.
Hawker Beechcraft is working with various electronics manufacturers to develop packages of aircraft and electronics for military and intelligence applications.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
AOPA worked with the flight training industry and FAA to quickly resolve a problem that suddenly put many rating applications on hold.
If only one person had been helped, it all would have been worthwhile. But much more than that has been accomplished over the 25-year life of the National Gay Pilots Association, said its executive director.
The Department of Transportation has announced plans to complete its review of proposed third class medical reforms on Jan. 26, even as AOPA pledges to keep pushing for legislative action.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>