The Beechcraft Queen Air is a twin engined light aircraft produced by Beechcraft in several different versions from 1960 to 1978. Based upon the Twin Bonanza, with which it shared key components such as wings, engines, and tail surfaces, but featuring a larger fuselage, it served as the basis for the highly successful King Air series of turboprop aircraft. It is often used as a private aircraft, a utility, or a small commuter airliner. Production ran for 17 years.
This is the Queen Air powered by two Lycoming IGSO-480s producing 340 hp (250 kW) with a 1400 hour TBO. It had a gross weight of 7,700 lb (3,500 kg) with useful loads around 2,000 lb (910 kg). It is easily recognized by its straight unswept tail. Usually referred to as a "straight 65". Produced from 1960 to 1966.
First produced in 1967 the A65 is very similar to the straight 65. The major change was the addition of a swept tail giving the aircraft a much more modern appearance. Available fuel was also increased. Production ended in 1971.
Introduced in 1968. This aircraft is similar to the A65 in that it is powered by the 340 hp (250 kW) Lycoming IGSO-480, however it has the longer wing of the 80 series. This allows the 70 to have a greater lifting ability than the 65 but a lower fuel burn than the 80. It is, essentially, an A65 with the B80 wing. Its gross weight is 8,200 lb (3,700 kg) and useful loads could be as high as 2,400 lb (1,100 kg). Production ended in 1971.
Introduced in 1961 the model 80 was the first of the Queen Airs to have the more modern swept tail. It was powered by a larger Lycoming IGSO-540 which produced 380 hp (280 kW). Gross weight on the 80 is 8,000 lb (3,600 kg).
Introduced in 1964. The major changes to the A80 include a redesign of the aircraft nose, and a 500 pound increase in takeoff weight to 8,500 lb (3,900 kg) gross weight. This aircraft was the first to feature the longer wing found on all subsequent variants except the A65. This extension added around 2 ft (0.61 m) to each side.
Introduced in 1966 the B80 was to be the final production model. The B80 was by far the longest produced Queen Air with production lasting some 12 years. Its major improvement was the increased gross weight to a 8,800 lb (4,000 kg). This gave the B80 a useful load of well over 3,000 lb (1,400 kg). Production ended in 1978.
Introduced in 1965 the model 88 is a pressurised version of the Queen Air. This aircraft featured round cabin windows that make the 88 look quite similar to a 90 series King Air. It also shares the engines and long wing of the B80. Sales were slack due to its higher sales price and lower useful load as compared to the B80. Only 45 were ever produced and the aircraft was removed from production in 1969. While the 88 in and of itself was not a success, when Beech replaced the Lycoming piston engines with a pair of Pratt and Whittney PT6s, one of their most successful aircraft ever was born, the King Air 90. As a matter of fact, the first two models of King Airs official designation was BE65-90 and BE65-A90 owing to its Queen Air heritage.
This is a modification performed in the aftermarket by supplemental type certificates (STCs) to the BE65. It resolves the biggest issue of the Queen Air design. This is accomplished by replacing the rather cantankerous Lycoming IGSO-480s and Lycoming IGSO-540s with the far more robust Lycoming IO-720. This presents the major advantage of not having any gearbox or turbochargers to cause maintenance and reliability problems. The other advantages gained are the overall increase in power to 400 hp (300 kW) per engine as well as a gross weight increase in most models. The gross weights are increased to 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) in all the short wing aircraft (65, A65, 80), 8,200 lb (3,700 kg) in the 70, and 8800 in the other long wing aircraft (A80, B80, 88). The US Army installed this modification on all of their aircraft. The Excalibur Queen Air can be recognized by the noticeably smaller engine cowlings and lower set engines. This STC was originally designed and produced by Ed Swearingen who was well known for his work on the Twin Bonanza, Queen Air, and later Swearingen aircraft (Merlin and Metro). The ownership of this STC has changed hands many times over the years. The current owner is Bemidji Aviation which operates a fleet of Excalibur Queen Airs as well as other aircraft in the charter and freight role in the upper mid-west of the United States. Bemidji Aviation lists refurbished and newly converted Excalibur Queen Air aircraft on the 'for-sale' section of its website.
Production number details
This list provides a detailed account of production by Beechcraft by individual variant. Production numbers per year can be found in the Hawker Beechcraft serialization list. 65, A65= 339 70= 37 80, A80, B80= 509 88= 45 Total= 930
Military Operators included:
Specifications (Model 65 Queen Air)
Published - July 2009
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