Beechcraft celebrates King Air milestones at AirVenture

OSHKOSH – Beechcraft Corporation is celebrating two important King Air milestones this week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh – the 50th year of King Air production, as well as the first anniversary of a record-breaking order from Wheels Up, the membership-based private aviation company. The order from Wheels Up represents the largest order in history for general aviation turboprop aircraft, encompassing up to 105 King Air 350i aircraft and including maintenance, service and support.

“With the King Air family of products on display at Oshkosh this week, it is fitting to recognize two major milestones that speak directly to the reputation of this great airplane,” said Christi Tannahill, senior vice president, Turboprop Aircraft.

KingAirMaidenFlight_Jan_20_1964Since the first flight in January 1964 (pictured above), nearly 7,200 King Air aircraft have been delivered.

“We celebrate Beechcraft and the King Air every day at Wheels Up and are thrilled to feature the King Air 350i as the foundation of our fleet,” said Wheels Up Founder and Chief Executive Officer Kenny Dichter. “Our members love the King Air350i for its utility, luxury and efficiency, and we are proud to say that we’ve seen the amazingly positive response from our members that we had anticipated. We congratulate Beechcraft on the 50th anniversary of King Air production and look forward to growing our relationship over the next 50 years and beyond.”

King_Air_350iTo date, Beechcraft has delivered 19 of the initial order of 35 King Airs to Wheels Up, and Wheels Up holds options on another 70 aircraft. The Wheels Up King Air 350i aircraft have several special enhancements for Wheels Up members, including state-of-the-art interiors, Wi-Fi connectivity and a luxury lavatory vanity. The Wheels Up agreement includes a maintenance program from Beechcraft that includes service for airframe, engines, avionics and propellers; scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, labor, parts and consumables.

In 2014, the King Air saw an increase to 34 deliveries in the second quarter over 24 deliveries in the same period last year.

Part of this success comes from special missions markets, where King Airs operate commercially and in all branches of the U.S. military, serve a variety of missions ranging from traditional passenger and cargo transport to electronic and imagery surveillance, air ambulance, airway calibration, photographic mapping, training and weather modification, according to Beechcraft officials.

“As we celebrate aviation at Oshkosh, we’re excited also to celebrate the first 50 years of making history with the King Air,” Tannahill said. “We salute our operators who have firmly established this aircraft as an industry icon, and we salute the employees whose hard work over the decades remains a cornerstone of aviation.”

The anniversary celebration at Oshkosh was held Wednesday, July 30.


  1. says

    “Fifty years and counting”- a lot to be said for marketing/sales vision which is sorely lacking in the recreational segment of GA – not sure on this – then WHY so little or “ZIP” real investment money here? Oh, of course, then there’s the “fools” who threw another round of $60M on the Icon 5- “12” step program anyone?

  2. Paul says

    Got a fair amount of time in the Be200 and enjoyed every minute of it. One of the truly well designed airplanes. I rank it right up there with the venerable DC-3 which I’ve also had the pleasure of operating and did so solo a time or two if you can believe that. Both are straight forward designs that last and have outlasted their designers. And it helps to also be fueled by diesel/Jet-A which in my humble opinion is where all our airplane powerplant designs should be headed, i.e. away from gasoline and toward diesel and the same could be said of cars, vans and small trucks. Not only could we increase mileage performance but we could probably eliminate oil imports in the process. Gasoline is a holdover from the distant past which costs/wastes enormous amounts of energy in refining (cracking and distilling) crude oil to produce it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *