In one form or another, Beech King Airs have always managed to top turboprop popularity polls. Since the mid-’60s, Beech has introduced a King Air for every mission, about a dozen variations on the basic theme. The C90 is still the entry-level model, and it has always represented perhaps the most popular and least expensive King Air. In 1979, Beech introduced the F90, a model that addressed virtually all the early C90’s performance deficiencies. The two big improvements were the more powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135 engines, boosting power from 550 to 750 shp per side, and the broad T-tail, adapted from the larger King Air 200.
The F90 offered the same ultracomfortable, 54-inch-wide cabin as the C90, combined with the reduced wingspan of the King Air 100, but the F90’s extra power made a major difference in performance. It also positioned the new F90 closer to the ultraluxurious 200 than to the C90. Short wings and plentiful horsepower are part of the formula that air racers use to fly fast at Reno, but in the corporate context, the F90 realized a major performance boost.