Just 2.5 years after receiving STC approval for the XP67A engine on Beechcraft King Air 300s and 350s, Blackhawk Aerospace (Booth 4819) has delivered its 100th pair of the higher-performance engine upgrade. “Our engineering team got this STC done in about 12 to 13 months,” Blackhawk president and CEO Jim Allmon told AIN. “For most companies that do a major STC of this size, it’s a three-year process. Normally we don’t hit 100 on a product line for four or five years.”

The recipient of the engine pair is the Red Bull Air Force, whose recently delivered King Air 300LW is undergoing several modifications and other work in Germany at Augsburg Air Service (AAS), which has been a Blackhawk dealer and installer since 1999. AAS managing director Florian Kohlmann told AIN that Red Bull’s King Air also will receive Garmin G1000 avionics, winglets, a new interior, and additions such as LED annunciator panels and advanced exhaust stacks.

“Our goal is to make it the fastest King Air 300LW in the world,” Kohlmann said. “And it’s such an honor to work with this incredible team at Blackhawk Aerospace and Red Bull, who are supporting business aviation, sports, and passion for aviation around the world.”

The backbone of the XP67A upgrade is Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A-67A engine, which after Blackhawk’s upgrades provides for a 60 percent increased climb rate, more than 332-knot maximum cruise speed, and 62 percent greater payload.

“What we had to do was modify the airbox, extend it about an inch and a half because the inlet screen was a little farther back,” Allmon said. “Then we added kind of a little airflow underneath the engine for the oil cooler because we wanted to make sure it cooled the oil properly in the most severe conditions, such as operating in the Middle East.”

The upgrade’s MT five-blade composite propeller allows the airplane to climb and stop “a bit better.” More importantly, it provides a quieter cabin. “We’ve got a lot of compliments from passengers sitting in the back about how quiet it is because you’re only pulling 600 RPMs in cruise and it’s just so, so quiet,” he added.

While the MT propeller is approved on the King Air 350, Allmon noted that Hartzell’s five-blade propeller has been approved for the King Air 300 upgrade in addition to the MT propeller, “which makes that airplane the fastest King Air on the planet. We’re 340 knots plus on the 300 because it’s a lighter, 14,000-pound airframe.”

When Allmon began looking into the XP67A upgrade, his sales manager and even his partners were skeptical about it because of the pricing “on an engine that’s fairly expensive, upwards of a million-nine plus installation. The engines are a very expensive net to us and for us to make a reasonable profit we had to set a pretty big price for it. But lo and behold, it’s been very well accepted in the market.”

Since the launch of the XP67A, Blackhawk has added a derivative of the upgrade for military/special-mission King Air 300-series turboprops, which it calls the XR, that adds CenTex fuel tanks and Textron heavyweight landing gear.

“We can stay in the air 10-plus hours in loiter mode or we can go about 2,200 nm,” Allmon explained. “And you can load up full fuel and still have 2,000 pounds left over for people and payload. So that’s kind of our military version and we’re finally starting to get some play on that, and I think that will be a big boon.”

Source: ainonline.com

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