Blackhawk Aircraft Modifications says it expects to be able to deliver re-engined King Air 350s that will offer significant performance improvements from the factory models by May of 2017. Blackhawk will begin flight testing a 350 with Pratt & Whitney Canada XP67A engines this month. The airplane came with PT6A-60A engines developing 1050 horsepower and the new mills put out 1,200 horses. The switch also requires a beefier prop and it’s working with MT Propeller on the conversion. Some aircraft already have MT five-bladed props and they just need new hubs and spinners. Company VP Bob Kromer outlined the program at NBAA press day in Orlando on Monday.
The performance enhancements are significant. The bigger engines will take the King Air from sea level to FL350 in as little as 18 minutes instead of the 45-minute haul now experienced. Cruise speeds will go up 10 percent and if they don’t mind burning the kerosene the operators can cruise at up to 340 knots. Dialed back, the new engines get better fuel economy than the originals. Blackhawk will offer a core credit of $70 per hour for engines swapped out before TBO. Test pilot Chris Dunkin said the new project “has the most impressive performance that I’ve seen by far.”