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28th of August 1958

The Beechcraft Queen Air made its first flight on this day in aviation history.

Beechcraft Queen Air model A80

The Queen Air was a twin-engined design from Beechcraft which was based on another Beechcraft aircraft, the Twin Bonanza. A new fuselage was fitted with, amongst others, the wings, engines and tail surfaces of the Twin Bonanza. With 930 airframes produced between 1960 and 1978, it was a popular design. It also served as the basis for the very successful Beechcraft King Air.

The reason for starting the Queen Air project ley in the fact that its predecessor, the Twin Bonanza reached the end of what could be developed with/from it. The designers came up with a new fuselage and fitted a Twin Bonanza wing and tail surfaces to it. This aircraft was the first version of the Beech Queen Air, the Beech 65. It had a retractable landing gear (main and nose landing gear) and its wing was of a cantilever design.

As for powerplants, the

Lycoming IGSO-480 six-cylinder engine was chosen. The six opposed cylinders produced 340 hp and drove3-bladed Hartzell constant-speed propellers.

FAA certification was achieved on the 4th of February 1959, followed shortly by the first deliveries to customers. A year later (on the 8th of February 1960) a Model 65 set an altitude record of 34.682 feet. The US Army had been a Beech Twin Bonanza operator (they called it the L-23 Seminole) and ordered 68 Beech 65 aircraft (and called them the L-23F) early on.

Beechcraft Queen Air model 65

Several variants were developed and built

Model 65 Initial type of the Queen Air, powered by two Lycoming IGSO-480 engines, was produced between 1960 and 1966. Easily identified by its unswept (straight) vertical tailfin,

Model 70 Introduced in 1968 and produced to 1971.

A mix of a Model 65 with a model B80 wing. Model A80 Introduced in 1964 it featured a new wing, with a bigger spann and a redesigned nose section. The MTOW was increased by 500 lbs.

Model B80 Introduced in 1966 this was the final production model, it was produced up to 1978. Major difference to earlier models was the heigest gross weight of the series.

Model 88 Introduced in 1965 this model was only produced for 4 years. It shared its engines and wing design with the Model B80. It was not a popular model as it had a higher salesprice then the other models and a lower payload. Only 47 were built.

This version of the Queen Air resembled it successor the King Air (series 90) as it featured round cabin windows. The new windows were introduced with the introduction of a pressurised cabin in this model. Exaclibur

This is a modification with an aftermarket STC's (Supplemental Type Certifcates). The biggest change was the installation of the 8 cylinder Lycoming IO-720 ((400 hp) engines. This engine did not have a gearbox with supercharger. Which improved reliability and reduced maintenance cost. However that came at a price, the maximum cruising altitude was limited to 15.000 ft. WIth more power available to MTOW increased as well (how much depending on the base model to which the STC was applied), In total 930 Queen Air aircraft would be produced:

  • 65, A65 = 339

  • 70 = 37

  • 80, A80, B80 = 509

  • 88 = 45

Specifications for the Model B80: General characteristics

  • Crew: 1–2

  • Capacity: 4–9 passengers

  • Length: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)

  • Wingspan: 50 ft 3 in (15.32 m)

  • Height: 14 ft 2+1⁄2 in (4.331 m)

  • Empty weight: 5,277 lb (2,394 kg)

  • Max takeoff weight: 8,800 lb (3,992 kg)

  • Fuel capacity: 214 US gal (178 imp gal; 810 L) normal, 264 US gal (220 imp gal; 1,000 L) with optional auxiliary tanks

  • Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming IGSO-540 A1D supercharged, air-cooled flat-6 engines, 380 hp (280 kW) each

  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hartzell constant speed


  • Vmo: 215 kn (247 mph, 398 km/h) at 11,500 ft (3,500 m)

  • Cruise speed: 159 kn (183 mph, 294 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m), 45% power (econ cruise)

  • Stall speed: 71 kn (82 mph, 131 km/h) wheels and flaps down, IAS

  • Range: 1,317 nmi (1,516 mi, 2,439 km) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m), 45% power

  • Service ceiling: 26,800 ft (8,200 m)

  • Rate of climb: 1,275 ft/min (6.48 m/s)

  • Takeoff distance to 50 ft (15m): 2,556 ft (779 m)

  • Landing distance from 50 ft (15m): 2,572 ft (784 m)

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