Beechcraft says it is getting closer to defining the key features of a single-engined turboprop that could form part of its propeller family of aircraft before the end of the decade.
This new product would mark the US airframer's first foray into the turboprop single-engined market and its evaluation is part of a top-to-tail review by Beechcraft of its entire piston and turboprop product line.
"We have a definitive plan for all our platforms, including a single-engined turboprop," says Beechcraft executive vice president, sales and marketing, Shawn Vick. "Reaching into our installed base of Beechcraft products [from the King Air twin turboprop to the Baron piston single] we believe a single-engined turboprop would be a natural evolution," he continues. "We are asking our customers [and other users]: If we can offer an aircraft that has the right performance and operational characteristics at a certain purchase price, what would be your level of interest?"
Beechcraft is also conducting a third-party blind survey to gather "candid feedback" on what operators are looking for in a single-engined turboprop relative to other offerings in this segment - including the Cessna Caravan, Daher Socata TBM 850 and Pilatus PC-12NG.
"We have gathered ample evidence already which has given us a good understanding of this market segment. However, we will dedicate the rest of 2013 to this research before we make any decisions," says Vick.
Beechcraft's focus on product development has been at the forefront of its strategy since emerging from bankruptcy in February. "We are now a well-capitalised company with a definitive plan for all our platforms," says Vick. "We are confident that there will be new product announcements from 2014 until the end of the decade."