RFDS South Eastern Section orders two King Air 350s

A file image of a Beechcraft King Air 350. (Beechcraft)
A file image of a Beechcraft King Air 350. (Beechcraft)

The Royal Flying Doctor Service South Eastern Section (RFDS SE) has ordered two modified Beechcraft King Air 350 cargo heavyweight aircraft as part of its fleet modernisation program.

The order was announced by Textron Aviation at the Singapore Airshow on Wednesday.

The pair of Beechcraft King Air 350s, to be fitted out in a high-density configuration with seating for 11 passengers, will replace older King Air B200s currently in the fleet, Textron said in a statement.

The aircraft will also feature an added cargo door for easier patient loading and offloading, while a heavyweight landing gear would allow for a higher maximum takeoff weight and increased payload capability.

“Building our fleet through the acquisition of the Beechcraft King Air 350 advances our strategic mission to deliver more health care to those that need us most,” RFDS SE general manager for aviation and strategic development David Charlton said in a statement.

“Innovation is vital to our evolution so the Beechcraft King Air 350 are valuable additions.”

The aircraft would be able to be converted from the high-seating to air ambulance operations as required, depending on the mission.

Deliveries would occur between July and September 2018. RFDS SE currently had 18 King Air turboprops in its fleet.

“The organization’s commitment to Textron Aviation is a testament to the long-proven history of reliability, value and performance our aircraft are known for,” said Textron president for Asia Pacific sales and marketing Jessica Pruss said.

“We are eager to continue supporting the RFDS patient transport and medevac mission with the King Air 350, a trusted aircraft that empowers the operator to utilize unimproved runways and travel longer distances with a higher payload.”

The order from RFDS SE was among only a handful of publicly announced orders at the Singapore Airshow.

Elsewhere, Bangkok Airways signed for four more ATR 72-600 turboprops, while new business jet manufacturer Hondajet secured an order from European air taxi company Wijet for “multiple” aircraft.

(Read Owen Zupp’s feature on flying the Beechcraft King Air 350i in the January-February 2018 edition of Australian Aviation. For subscription details, click here.)