​Blackhawk targets growth from King Air upgrades

Blackhawk Aerospace is aiming to build on the success of its Beech King Air upgrade packages as it eyes expanding into the special-mission sector.

The Waco, Texas-based company’s Phoenix by Blackhawk King Air upgrade has “really taken off this year”, says president and chief executive Jim Allmon. He adds that the company’s purchase of an additional hangar space “was essential in supporting the rapid growth of the programme”.

The upgrade replaces the standard 1,050shp (780kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60A engines and Hartzell four-blade metal propellers with factory-new 1,200shp PT6A-67A engines and Hartzell five-blade composite propellers.

“Our official reported cruise speed states 343 knots true airspeed (ktas), but that’s a conservative number,” says Allmon. “We’ve seen speeds north of 350ktas from the -67A engines and Hartzell propeller combination.”

Blackhawk sees upgrades of the King Air 350 as providing major growth potential. It says its upgrades of civilian and special mission 350s have been a “tremendous success”, and plans to expand further into the special mission arena. “More information on special mission projects will be released later this year,” it says.

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