Textron Aviation on November 12 celebrated the entry into service and first delivery of its Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprop aircraft to launch customer Stamoules Produce Company of California. The King Air 360, Textron Aviation’s new flagship turboprop, is the first-ever aircraft purchase by Stamoules.
Textron notes the delivery marks another milestone for the Beechcraft King Air turboprop lineup. Nearly 7,600 King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964, making it the best-selling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 62 million flight hours in its 56 years.
“This is a special day for Beechcraft King Air turboprops as we begin a new era for such a beloved aircraft,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice president, sales and flight operations, Textron Aviation. “We are privileged to welcome Stamoules Produce Company to the Beechcraft family. This upgraded aircraft features innovative technology and next generation capabilities, and it will allow this launch customer an opportunity to transform the way they do business.”
Founded in 1927, Stamoules is a family-owned business based in the San Joaquin Valley of central California, which is referred to as the cantaloupe centre of the world. Stamoules specializes in growing and harvesting fruits, vegetables and nuts on its 17,000-acre farm.
“We’re very proud to be the launch customer of the new Beechcraft King Air 360,” said Katie Stefanopoulos, a family member, who will also serve as corporate pilot for the new aircraft. “When selecting our first aircraft, we looked for a product that would not only give us the performance and flexibility we need to grow our business, but also by a company with a trusted name and expertise in the industry – and we found that in the King Air 360 and Textron Aviation.”
The King Air 360 cockpit features the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle, designed to automatically manage engine power from the takeoff roll through the climb, cruise, descent, and go-around phases of flight.
Another key update in the cockpit, explains Textron, is the new digital pressurization controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurization during both climb and descent. Textron also points to King Air 360 upgrades like a lower cabin altitude at the aircraft’s certified ceiling of 35,000 feet – more than 10 per cent lower when compared to the King Air 350i. This improved cabin altitude level, explains Textron, provides greater comfort for passengers, especially during longer flights.
The King Air 360 also features a redesigned cabin with what Textron describes as craftsman-built cabinetry, partitions and side ledges, upgraded materials and finishes, along with all new interior schemes. Other amenities that come standard on the entire King Air lineup include pull-out work tables, power outlets, USB charging stations and a private aft lavatory.
(Main photo: Textron Aviation, The Beechcraft King Air 360 cockpit features the addition of the Innovative Solutions & Support ThrustSense Autothrottle.)