U.S. Army King Air Logs 50,000 Hours


A Beechcraft King Air 300 twin-engine turboprop currently being flown by the U.S. Army has passed its 50,000th flight hour, according to an announcement from Textron Aviation on Thursday. The aircraft was delivered in 1987 and has been part of the Army’s fleet since 2009. It operates as a Medium Altitude Reconnaissance and Surveillance System (MARSS) aircraft, performing aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

“The aircraft was utilized heavily in CENTCOM to fill capability gaps over the past decade,” said U.S. Army Fixed Wing Project Office project manager Col. James DeBoer. “An aircraft that was able to reach 50,000 flight hours, with more than 30,000 hours in mostly austere environments, deserves recognition as do the Soldiers who flew and maintained the aircraft, and those who stood at the ready to support its missions through parts replacement, repairs and other requirements.”

According to Textron, nearly 7,600 King Air family aircraft have been delivered since the first model was introduced in 1964. The worldwide fleet has logged more than 62 million flight hours to date. The latest addition to the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-powered King Air 300 family, the King Air 360/360ER, received its type certificate from the FAA in October 2020.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Many years ago, back in the 1960’s, when I was in the Army, the Army was in the process of building up the aviation department. There were twin-engine, DE Havilland, Canada, Caribou planes, twin engine turboprop Mohawks, King Air’s and Queen Air’s, along with helicopters and single-engine planes.
    Then, the U.S. Air Force got jealous and forced the Army to give up the Caribou; which could, with the right pilot, land on a dime. The thinking, amongst us at that the time, was that that was a big mistake. Taking away the King Air, at that time, would have gone over like a lead balloon.
    The Mohawk did great work in the Cold War in West Germany, with its sophisticated electronics.
    The Air Force and it’s pilots should stay aloof and aloft and let the Army pilots fly their jeep airplanes around where many Air Force pilots have no, or very little, experience. After all is said and done, we are all in the same business of trying to help troops on the ground and saved the world from bad characters.
    To put it another way, just because I have Catch-Up and Onions on my hamburger, the Air Force should not try to say I shouldn’t. I would protest mightily.

  2. I guess I should bookmark this story. There’s always somebody convinced the Army has no fixed wing aircraft anymore. I know all the stories, but I’ve seen them on the field, so I know they exist.