American Aviation Inc.
American Aviation at Coeur d’Alene Airport in Idaho offers modifications for Beechcraft King Airs, Piper Cheyennes and Cessna Conquests. For King Air 100, E90, F90, 90, A90, B90 and C90 through the 1983 C-90-1 series aircraft, the mods include Ram Air Recovery System, streamlined oil-cooler cowlings and aerodynamic speed stacks. Cheyenne I, II and IIXL models can get aftermarket exhaust pipes and Ram Air Recovery Systems, while the exhaust-pipe upgrade is available for Conquest Is. “All of the systems are designed to increase the climb and cruise performance,” says company vice president Jim Christy.
American Aviation Inc.
A certified installer of popular King Air upgrades (Blackhawk, BLR, Raisbeck and others), American Aviation, located at Hernando County Airport in Florida, specializes in avionics solutions. Its Alliant King Air Flight Deck features dual large-format Avidyne EXP5000 PFD screens and an S-TEC IntelliFlight 2100 digital multi-axis autopilot. Each EXP5000 contains an integrated solid-state air-data and attitude-heading reference system (ADAHRS). Avionics manager Jason Francis notes the company also installs G1000, GTN 750/650 and G600 panels in various King Air models, and has installed a GTN 750 in a Pilatus PC12.
Blackhawk Modifications, Inc.
Pioneering engine-upgrade provider Blackhawk Modifications, Inc. of Waco, Texas, holds STCs for replacing the engines in King Air 90 and 200 series, and Cessna Conquest I and Cheyenne I, IA, II, IIXL aircraft with new PT6A variants. Now, Blackhawk offers an upgrade for the Cessna Caravan 208B. The XP42A upgrade replaces the stock 675 shp PT6A-114A with an 850 shp PT6A-42A. “The upgrade can pay for itself through increased revenue generation and reduced operating costs,” said Jim Allmon, president of Blackhawk. Installations are performed at some 50 authorized Blackhawk facilities in the U.S. and more than a dozen overseas.
The benefits that factory-designed winglets deliver on the King Air 350 are available for King Air 200, 300 and C90 series aircraft with aftermarket winglets from BLR Aerospace. The aluminum and carbon-fiber Winglet Systems increase the wing aspect ratio and diminish induced drag. The winglets “improve most phases of flight including short-field take-off, climb, high-altitude operations, cruise, speed, fuel burn, handling qualities and slow flight,” says Dave Marone, BLR’s Vice President, Sales & Marketing.
CenTex Aerospace, based at Waco Regional Airport in Texas, has STC modifications aimed at boosting gross weights. For C90 King Airs, the HALO 90 upgrade increases payload from more than 250 to more than 700 pounds, depending on the model of C90. On the drawing boards, the HALO 250 STC will increase gross weight for King Air 200 aircraft to 13,500 from 12,500 pounds, and HALO 295 STC will up gross weight to 14,000 pounds. The STCs will require no airframe modification, according to CenTex.
Go glass in your legacy King Air, Piper Meridian or JetPROP. Phoenix-based Cutter Aviation performs Garmin G1000 aftermarket avionics installations in King Airs (as well as installing King Air aftermarket upgrades, including Raisbeck and Blackhawk products), and has an STC to install Garmin G950 glass panels in Piper PA46 Meridian and JetPROP turboprops. The company notes that both units are RVSM compliant, and that removing the legacy avionics can save up to 350 pounds of weight. According to Zach Sands, Cutter is also considering offering the G950 installation for TBM 700A, B and C2 models.
Enhanced Aero of McGregor, Texas, is focused on PT6A-52 engine conversion for King Air 200/B200 series aircraft, transforming them into the B200GTO. The conversion improves performance (305 knots cruise) and reduces maintenance costs. Enhanced Aero also offers King Air mods including McCauley four-and five-blade propellers, BLR winglets, Raisbeck products (available in bundled Raisbeck EPIC packages), and interior conversions from its own Interiors by Brazil company. A complete conversion can be accomplished in four weeks, says company president Grady O’Hara, who has more than 35 years of experience in business aviation.
Kestrel Aeroworks of Brunswick, Maine, is the modification division of the company (Kestrel Aircraft), headed by Cirrus Design cofounder and former CEO Alan Klapmeier, that’s developing the eponymous single-engine turboprop. The aeroworks can install Avidyne Release 9 glass panels in older PA-46 model Piper Meridian turboprops and Cirrus SR22s. The PA-46 upgrade includes interior modifications that ease access to the cramped cockpit. Kestrel Aeroworks also will design customized modifications for high-performance aircraft. “We would like to hear your ideas,” Klapmeier says.
O&N Aircraft Modifications
O&N Aircraft Modifications in Factoryville, Pa., is renowned for its Silver Eagle conversions, making turboprops out of Cessna P210s, with more than 100 completed. Now, O&N is following that up with the Silver Eagle 340, turning Cessna 340s and 340As into turboprops with the installation of two Rolls Royce 250-B17F/2 engines, three-blade Hartzell reversible deiced propellers, new interior, avionics, added fuel capacity and paint, for about $1.6 million. In addition to improved performance, the conversion delivers increased useful load. Certification is expected by year’s end, and five conversions already have been sold in anticipation, according to O&N’s Diane Olson.
Seattle-based performance mod manufacturer Raisbeck Engineering has designed and developed performance systems for turboprops for 25 years. Its Epic Platinum Performance System for King Airs includes Quiet Turbofan Propellers, while the Epic Gold package is designed for aircraft already outfitted with the four-bladed props. Raisbeck also offers Quiet Turbofan Propeller upgrades for Twin Otters. “We currently have more than 6,000 performance systems installed on the King Air fleet,” says Anne Lockemy, Raisbeck’s Advertising and PR Manager, “and our (wing) lockers and strakes have been standard on the Hawker Beechcraft 350 production line for nearly seven years.”
Turn your piston-powered airplane into a turboprop! Speedmeister Darwin Conrad of Rocket Engineering first souped up Mooneys (the Rocket 305 conversion), and now, his facility in Spokane, Wash., specializes in putting PT-6A engines in Piper PA46 Malibus and Mirages (JetPROP DL and DLX), Beechcraft Bonanza B36TCs (the TurbineAir), B60 Dukes (Royal Turbine) and B58P Barons (Turbine Cougar Baron). “Why install turbines on a twin-engine airplane?,” Conrad asks rhetorically. “The Pratt & Whitney engines are several times more reliable and much more user-friendly than piston engines.”
Silverhawk Conversions in Lincoln, Neb., offers firewall-forward upgrades for King Air C-90 and 200, and Cessna Conquest I and Cheyenne I and II turboprops, using PT6A-135A (for the C-90, Conquest and Cheyenne) or PT6A-42 or -52 (for the B200) engines. Conversion typically takes three weeks. “Silverhawk is unique in that we manage the entire conversion process from initial order to completion,” says John Gillum, CEO of Silverhawk Conversions. “If additional work is needed, ranging from airframe inspections to avionics upgrades or a new interior, we can handle it while the aircraft is down for the conversion.”
Twin Commander Aircraft, LLC
Twin Commander Aircraft specializes in turbine conversions of a half-dozen models of the twin-engine Commander, using Honeywell TPE331 turboshaft powerplant variants. The AC 690A conversion utilizes the Honeywell TPE331-5-251 engine. The AC 690B conversion uses the -251 or -252 variant while the AC 840 (690C) and AC 900 (690D) use the -254K. The AC 980 (695) and the AC 1000 (695A) are harnessed to the -10-511K. Updated avionics and other upgrades also are available.