New at Sun ‘n Fun this year is Hawker Beechcraft’s latest iteration of the King Air, which has been in production in various forms since the 1960s. The 350i has no substantial upgrades in engines or avionics over the last version, but the cabin has had a total makeover that brings it up-to-the-moment for the digital age. Slick controller devices mounted into the armrests control the cabin environment, from dimming the LED lights to darkening the windows to operating an iPod dock or a high-definition video monitor. Plenty of USB ports and electrical plugs make it easy for passengers to bring their work on board, with fold-out tables for everyone. Eight roomy seats in double-club formation are easy to reposition or remove for a variety of missions.
The $6.6 million 350i was recently certified by both the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency. Deliveries started last December. The twin turboprop is powered by two PT6A-60A engines by Pratt & Whitney Canada. It has a range of up to 947 nautical miles with full payload.