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.
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)?
The Aircraft Spotlight feature looks at an airplane type and evaluates it across six areas of particular interest to flying clubs and their members: Operating Cost, Maintenance, Insurability, Training, Cross-Country, and Fun Factor.
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