The Duchess is a cantilever low-wing monoplane with an all metal structure, four seats, retractable tricycle undercarriage and a T-tail. It is powered by one 180hp (134kW) Lycoming O-360-A1G6D on the left wing and one LO-360-A1G6D on the right wing, which drive counter-rotating, constant-speed two-bladed propellers.
The prototype was first flown in September 1974 with the first production version flown on 24 May 1977. Deliveries to the Beech Aero Centers commenced early in 1978.
The Model 76 incorporates engines that turn in different directions to eliminate the critical engine from single engine operation.
The Duchess wing is of honeycomb construction fastened by bonding, rather than rivets, to reduce cost and produce a smoother aerodynamic surface.
The Duchess is no longer in production but large numbers remain in use in flight schools around the world.
The use of a T-tail on the Model 76 met with mixed critical reception when the aircraft was introduced. Plane & Pilot pronounced:
while Gerald Foster said:
Data from Green, William: Observers Aircraft, page 48. Frederick Warne Publishing, 1980. ISBN 0 7232 1604 5
Published - July 2009
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