|STANDARD DATA (Sundowner): Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,450. Empty wt. 1,505. Fuel capacity 57. Engine 180-hp Lycoming.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 141. Cruise mph 127. Stall mph 59. Initial climb rate 792. Ceiling 12,600. Range 670. Takeoff distance (50') 1,955. Landing distance (50') 1,484.
STANDARD DATA (Musketeer Custom III): Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,450. Empty wt. 1,365. Fuel capacity 60. Engine 165-hp Lycoming.
The first of Beech’s “Three Musketeers” was introduced to the flying public in 1962 as a four-place, 160-a hp Model 23. More than 500 of these 23s had been sold when a redesigned model, the A-23, went into production in 1964. The A-23, powered by a 165 hp fuel-injected Continental engine, had an increased landing flap angle and a restyled interior. This Musketeer became the Custom III in 1966 when it was joined by the Super III and the Sport III. An acrobatic version of the Musketeer Sport III joined the fleet in 1968, and an acrobatic version of the Custom made its debut in 1969. Beech redesigned the Musketeer fuselage in 1970, giving it rounded sides and more cabin room. The panel was improved extensively and a third side window was added. When names were changed in 1972, the Custom became the Sundowner. Like other models, the Sundowner is also available with an autopilot, and its useful fuel has been boosted to 57 gallons. This extra gasoline translates into greater range and 30 pounds of additional useful load. The Sundowner is equipped with a fixed-pitch propeller and non-retractable landing gear. An Aerobatic version was available and approved for rolls, Immelmann turns, loops, spins, chandelles, and the like.