TEXTRON HAVE BEEN LISTENING to their customers and have incorporated many features into the King Air 360 that are a direct response to customer feedback.
With more than 7,000 King Airs in service— including 1,300 of the 350 series made— the model was ripe for a facelift. The 360 represents a block point change, introducing new features and structural changes at a point on the 300-series production line, rather than requiring a new type certificate.
Some of the improvements were easy and simple – like higher fold-out tables in the cabin to give more knee space. Others were perhaps less intuitive – going back to manually adjustable shades for the cabin windows. But for pilots the big change is in the cockpit – with the switch to Collins Pro-line avionics and auto-throttles.
Beechcraft says, “With auto-throttles, better pressurization, and increased cabin comfort, the latest King Air aims for easing pilot workload, and turning a 56-year-old workhorse into one that’s a bit more user-friendly and firmly in the modern age. First among these upgrades is the IS&S ThrustSense Autothrottle, which support the pilot throughout the flight regimes, including takeoff, landing, and go-arounds, computing and controlling power settings. It provides envelope protection that adjusts the power output of the engine during engine-out operations, allowing for better pilot control and allowing the airplane to accelerate and climb on one engine.”
‘back to manually adjustable shades’
Another new feature much liked by pilots, and probably not appreciated by passengers, is the new digital pressurization controller which, as described by Guido, automatically schedules cabin pressurization throughout the flight, taking this task from the pilot’s workload in both climb and descent—and improving passenger comfort in the process. The airframe went through structural updates to increase the maximum cabin pressure, resulting in a 10 percent decrease in cabin altitude compared to the King Air 350i. At 27,000 feet, for example, this translates into a cabin altitude of 5,960 feet.
The removal of the cabin pressurization controls from the instrument panel declutters it by replacing these—and the flap indicator—with digital displays on the Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion MFD in the integrated flight deck.
The cabin has seen great improvement as well, clearly informed by the materials and solutions found in Textron Aviation’s Citation line—but keeping the King Air’s more utilitarian style. The popular ‘King Ranch’ interior upgrade remains available among the new options for the 360
Along with a restyled interior, the manual window shades have returned, which are a whole lot easier to replace in service.
Base price remains the same for both models: $7.9 million for the 360 and $8.795 million for the 360ER.