Starships Still Flying

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And then there were six ... or is it five? Raytheon's effort to decommission the fleet of Beech 2000 Starships has met with some resistance by pilots who just don't want to give up the composite, canarded, tailless twin turboprop that the company once hoped would revolutionize the business-aircraft market. Last year it decided support for the fleet of 50 Starships was too costly and offered owners a King Air in exchange. Raytheon is now the registered owner of 41 of those aircraft but spokesman Tim Travis said his understanding is that there are only six private owners who intend to keep flying their Starships and one of them might be waffling. One proud owner unlikely to willingly give up his is Robert Scherer, who, when he's not flying for business or pleasure, uses the Starship as a chase plane for Scaled Composites' entry in the X PRIZE competition. Scherer told AVweb he intends to keep flying the Starship as long as possible and Raytheon appears to be accommodating that desire. Travis said most of the Raytheon-owned planes have been taken to Evergreen Air Center in Marana, Ariz., while four have been donated to museums. Another two may go to museums and the rest will be stripped of useable parts to supply the maintenance needs of those that remain flying. "Obviously, this is a situation that can't go on forever," Travis said.