A Rockwell Collins Venue inflight entertainment system is standard, including a foldout 15.3-in. HD LCD monitor at the front of the cabin, individual seat monitor jacks and a Blu-ray player. Right-side pairs of facing chairs have USB, RGB and other A/V input ports in covered compartments in the side ledges. Options include two- or four-channel XM satellite radio entertainment systems; Airshow moving map; a second, aft-mounted, swing-out HD LCD monitor; and individual plug 10.6-in. HD LCD monitors for each seat, along with Aircell Axxess II Iridium satcom phone and Gogo Biz air-to-ground Wi-Fi.
Cabin IFE functions, including lighting and temperature modulation, are controlled by means of a touch-screen, programmable switch panel (PSW) at each seat. The PSWs also have iPod/iPhone tray mounts that support both audio and video entertainment inputs that can be enjoyed by all passengers.
We strapped into the left seat of Serial Number FL-0831 at Atlantic Aviation's ramp at Wilmington, Del., with Beechcraft demo pilot Errol Wuertz Jr. Our first impression is that the King Air 350i is a blend of old and new technologies. The Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics system adds great capabilities and situational awareness, especially because of its glareshield-mounted flight guidance system control panels and three large, portrait-configuration format displays, but it's far from being fully integrated with aircraft systems.
Instead of having an integrated crew alerting system on the EFIS, for instance, the original aircraft's upper and lower annunciator light panels are retained. To initialize the FMS-3000, the crew must manually input fuel quantity because the avionics are not integrated with the fuel quantity indication system. The FMS isn't linked with the pressurization system, so departure and arrival field elevations must be entered into the pressurization control panel.
Wuertz noted that the new 350i has a Keith Products climate control system that automatically adjusts heating, cooling and fan speed to achieve the desired 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 upon weight, airport elevation, wind and outside air temperature. Some crews elect to use their own EFBs to perform such takeoff performance computations. Computed V speeds then are manually entered to generate speed bugs on the PFD airspeed tape.
We initialized the FMS and program–med in the flight plan. Single-pilot BOW was 10,190 lb. since we had two other occupants aboard, plus galley stores and baggage. With 2,050 lb. of fuel, our ramp weight was 12,940 lb.
Wuertz rounded up our takeoff weight to 13,000 lb. Based upon using no flaps, Wilmington's 80-ft. field elevation and 23C OAT, the V1 decision speed was 99 KIAS, rotation was 104 KIAS and the V2 takeoff safety speed was 111 KIAS. Computed takeoff field length was 3,203 ft. and runway available was 4,602 ft. Target en route climb speed was 170 KIAS.
The 350i is easy to taxi because of differential thrust, smooth brakes and effective nosewheel steering through the rudder pedals.