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Blackhawk secures certification for King Air 350 engine upgrade

US engineering company and aftermarket specialist Blackhawk Modifications has received US supplemental type certification for its XP67A engine upgrade on the King Air 350, and is now working on similar approvals for the 350ER and -300 variants of the twin-engined turboprop.

The upgrade replaces the type's 1,050shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines with 1,200shp PT6A-67As, which boost the 350s maximum cruise speed by up to 40kt (74km/h).

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The XP67A-powered twin can also climb from sea level to 35,000ft in 18min in hot conditions, says Blackhawk – more than twice the rate of the baseline model.

The upgrade package includes a five-blade composite propeller from German manufacturer MT, which Blackhawk says “delivers significant reductions in noise and vibration levels while improving overall performance”.

Jim Allmon, president and chief executive of the Waco, Texas-based company, calls the upgraded 350 “the fastest King Air on the planet”.

“We couldn’t be happier with this aircraft,” adds Allmon. “Operators seem to feel the same way because we’ve already booked almost a dozen orders.”

Blackhawk is now adapting the XP67A upgrade for the King Air 350ER and 300, with certification scheduled for late 2017 and early 2018, respectively.

Flight Fleets Analyzer records a global fleet of nearly 500 350/ERs and 175 -300s.

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