The King Air 350 was certified in 1989, grandfathered as the Model B300 on the 1973 Model 200 FAA type certificate. Compared with the King Air 200, the B300 features a 34-in. fuselage stretch, two more cabin windows and double-club seating for eight. The wing is about 3 ft. wider in span than the 200's. The aircraft's maximum takeoff weight exceeds 12,500 lb., which moves it into the commuter category and requires pilots be type-rated.
The 350i made its production debut in 2009, featuring improved interior soundproofing, Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics and Venue cabin entertainment system, and Raisbeck Engineering's dual aft-body strakes and wing lockers in the nacelles. Winglets improve the aircraft's lift-to-drag ratio at relatively high lift-coefficients, which increases OEI takeoff performance. The aft-body strakes improve yaw stability and allow the aircraft to be dispatched with an inoperative yaw damper and flown at altitudes up to 19,000 ft., versus 5,000 ft. for an unmodified aircraft. The wing lockers add 16 cu. ft. and 600 lb. of external baggage capacity.
The flight deck has three, large-format, portrait-configuration liquid-crystal displays used for left and right primary flight displays (PFD) and center multi-function display (MFD) with engine indications. The integrated flight information system hosts electronic charts, enhanced map graphics, and optional XM satellite or Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (Acars) weather, among other functions. The package includes dual solid-state attitude/heading reference systems, digital air-data computers, data concentrators, audio panels, fail-passive flight guidance computers and communication/navigation radios.
Also included is a single FMS-3000 multi-sensor flight management system (FMS) and a data loader that uses thumb drives. Options include a second FMS; an infrared, enhanced-vision system camera and VHF data radio to support Acars. In the cabin, Aircell Axxess II Iridium satcom and Gogo Biz Wi-Fi also are options, along with XM satellite radio, a moving map display, individual plug-in passenger seat monitors and aft-mounted, swing-out, forward-facing large-format monitors.
The 350i features a sound-suppression system with triple-layer skin-panel insulation and dynamically tuned vibration dampers, plus 3-in.-thick thermal insulation and an acoustically isolated interior shell. The system is tuned for 1,500-rpm prop speed and lowers noise by 4 db to about 78 db in cruise.
We strapped into the left seat of a King Air 350i at Atlantic Aviation's ramp at Wilmington, Del., with Beechcraft demo pilot Errol Wuertz, Jr. My first impression is of the blend of old and new technologies. The Pro Line 21 avionics system adds great capabilities and situational awareness, especially because of its glareshield-mounted flight guidance system control panels and large displays, but it is far from being fully integrated with aircraft systems.
Instead of an integrated crew-alerting system on the electronic displays, for example, the original upper and lower annunciator-light panels are retained. To initialize the FMS, the crew must manually input fuel quantity because it is not integrated with the fuel-quantity indication system. The FMS is not linked with the pressurization system, so departure and arrival field elevations must be entered into the pressurization control panel. The 350i does have a Keith Products' climate-control system that automatically adjusts heating, cooling and fan speed to ideal temperatures in the cockpit and cabin.
A performance computer is not part of the avionics package, so the crew must look up V speeds and takeoff field length based on weight, airport elevation, wind and outside air temperature (OAT). Some crews elect to use their own electronic flight bags for takeoff performance calculations. Computed V speeds then are manually entered to generate speed bugs on the PFD airspeed tape.
We initialized the FMS and programmed in the flight plan. Single-pilot basic operating weight was 10,190 lb., with two other occupants aboard, plus galley stores and baggage. With 2,050 lb. of fuel, ramp weight was 12,940 lb. Wuertz rounded up our takeoff weight to 13,000 lb. Based on using no flaps, Wilmington's 80-ft.-field elevation and 23C OAT, the V1 decision speed was 99 kt. indicated airspeed (KIAS), rotation 104 kt. and the V2 takeoff safety speed 111 kt. Computed takeoff field length was 3,203 ft. and runway available was 4,602 ft. Target en route climb speed was 170 kt.