Raytheon and Rockwell Collins have teamed to upgrade the King Air 200 and 350 with a Pro Line 21 cockpit to boost the twin-turboprop model range and provide a smoother transition to Raytheon's Premier I and Hawker 800XP business jets. All King Air 200/350s will be delivered with the new cockpit as standard at no extra cost.

The upgrade is being unveiled at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) show. Collins has completed certification on the King Air 350, with the 200 expected to follow within a few weeks of NBAA. Reduced vertical separation minima testing has been completed by Raytheon.

The original Pro Line II panel is replaced by three 255 x 205mm (10 x 8in) liquid-crystal displays: primary and multifunction displays (PFD/MFD) on the pilot's side and a second PFD on the co-pilot's side. This is similar to the Premier I layout.

"We looked at going to a two-tube layout as standard, but after consultation with the Federal Aviation Administration, and to ensure commonality on the production line, we went to a three-tube layout," says Raytheon marketing director Ron Gunnarson. The first production King Air 350 with Pro Line 21 is in final assembly, with the first 200 following within a month. Raytheon plans to deliver 11 Pro Line 21-equipped King Airs in 2003, seven 200s and four 350s. The cockpit will not be available as a retrofit.The suite includes Pro Line 21 integrated radios; flight management and GPS; dual digital air-data computers, solid-state attitude/heading reference systems and Mode S transponders; and turbulence-detection weather radar.

Source: Flight International