With the current market conditions encouraging owners of business aircraft to upgrade their current mounts instead of trading them in, GE Aviation and the Smyrna Air Center of Smyrna, Tennessee have launched an engine retrofit program called Power 90 for King Air 90s.
The two will team to upgrade the aircraft with 750 shp GE Walter M601E-11A turboprop engines driving Avia five bladed propellers, while Smyrna will carry out any other interior or avionics upgrades the customer requires.
The upgraded King Air features Avia five bladed props.
Smyrna holds one of the three supplemental type certificates existing or the installation of Walter engines, but this is the first to have the weight of GE behind it—GE has named Power 90 as a Preferred Engine Conversion. Previously only 12 King Air-Walter conversions had ever been done in the U.S., and the programs had not been actively marketed.
“That’s about to change,” says Smyrna CEO Erick Larson. “We hope to do 10-14 conversions a year for the first two years” and future plans call for offering the STC with GE’s more powerful, 800 shp Walter-derived H80 engine after it is certified early next year.
“This STC has been developed with the full oversight of the FAA, and having GE involved will make a huge difference,” said Corey Gillard, Smyrna vp for maintenance and avionics.
The Power 90 conversion gives the King Air faster rates of climb (11 mins to FL 250), higher flight levels, faster cruise speed (250 kts at FL250), and lower acquisition and maintenance costs, while the five blade props lower cabin noise substantially.
A converted 1974 King Air with GE Walter M601E-11A engines is on show at Oshkosh.