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King Air turns 50

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 21, 2014

The Beechcraft Corporation has celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first flight of its venerable King Air turboprop.

The new King Air C90GTx is a direct descendant of the original Model C90. (Beechcraft)
The new King Air C90GTx is a direct descendant of the original Model C90. (Beechcraft)

The first flight was conducted on January 20 1964 by a Model 90, and that event was commemorated in 2014 by a three-ship pass of three current model King Airs – a C90GTx, a 250, and a 350i – over Beech Field in Wichita, Kansas.

“The significance of that first flight 50 years ago cannot be overstated, nor can the work of Beechcrafters over the past five decades to turn that one model into the legendary King Air brand,” Bill Boisture, CEO of Beechcraft said. “The King Air captures more than 50 per cent of the worldwide business turboprop market each year because we’ve continued to innovate and build upon its foundation with the latest advancements in technology, durability, utility and comfort. Today’s celebration launches a year-long commemoration of the King Air legacy that began in earnest with the first flight of that first prototype.”

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Almost 7,200 King Airs have been sold worldwide since 1964, with the global fleet having surpassed 60 million flight hours.

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