US engineering company Blackhawk has completed its first two Beechcraft King Air 300 engine upgrades, for which it secured supplemental type certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration in late July. Work is now under way on a third modification, which the Waco, Texas, headquartered company says “delivers the best performing King Air on the planet".

The XP67A upgrade replaces the type’s 1,050shp (783kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines with 1,200shp PT6A-67As, which boosts the maximum cruise speed by 50kt (74km/h) to more than 340kt.

The XP67A-powered twin can also climb from sea level to 35,000ft in 19min in hot conditions, says Blackhawk – more than twice the rate of the baseline model.

The modification also replaces the Hartzell four-blade metal propeller with a five-blade composite version, which Blackhawk says delivers “superior performance, noise abatement and weight reduction”.

These performance benefits help to improve the bottom line, says Blackhawk. “Specifically, an operator flying 300h a year can expect to save about 50h, or $75,000 in operating costs,” it says.

Blackhawk president and chief executive Jim Allmon says the upgrade turns the 300 into “a whole new class of turboprop and will make this one of the most desirable models on the market”.

The company is targeting 30% of the global King Air 300 inventory, for which Cirium fleets data records around 850 examples.

Source: Flight International