About the King Air 90
The Model 90 King Air began its life as the Model 120 in 1961. In May 1963, Beechcraft began test flights of the proof-of concept Model 87, a modified Queen Air with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-6 engines. Two months later Beech publicly announced the Model 87 with orders began being accepted for the “King Air” a month after that. The first definitive prototype was designated the Model 65-90 and flew for the first time on January 24th, 1964. Deliveries would occur later that year on October 8, and by the end of the month, 152 aircraft had been ordered with seven being built before year’s end.
Over the following decades, Beechcraft began to introduce new models which updated and improved the Model 65-90 design. The Model 65-A90 came with PT6A-20 engines. The Model B90 came with a 9650 TOGW, improved ailerons, increased wing span, improved instrumentation and pressurization and had an extra side window. The Model C90 began using the Model 100 cabin environment and pressurization system and came equipped with 550 shp PT6A-engines. The Model C90-1 came with an E90 tailplane and improved power output and an increased maximum cabin pressure differential.
Next, the Model C90A was built which featured improved landing gear retraction, improved electrical system and used the F90-1 pressurization and heating system. The C90A had two updated versions: the first was the C90B, which featured an improved airframe, four-bladed propellers, and propeller synchrophasing; with the focus on reducing cabin noise. The second, the C90SE (Special Edition), was a cheaper version which had three-bladed propellers, standardized interior and mechanical instruments instead of the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) fitted to the C90B.
In July 2005, Beechcraft introduced the C90GT at the Oshkosh Airshow. It featured PT6A-135A engines, (750 shp flat rated to 550 shp), for better climb and cruise performance. Two variants would follow: the C90GTi which featured the “glass cockpit” Collins Proline 21 avionics suite and then the Model C90GTx with Winglets as a factory-standard and an increased maximum take-off weight of 10,485 lb. (4756) for better full-fuel payload flexibility.
Additional models include:
- E90 - broadly similar to the Model C90, which it was produced in parallel with. The E90 featured PT6A-28 engines.
- F90 - A further refinement of the 90 series. Featured the T-tail of the Model 200 King Air mated to the fuselage and wings of the E90, with PT6A-135 engines.
- F90-1 - superseded the F90; offered improved performance by offering PT6A-135A engines (885 shaft horsepower at max takeoff power, compared to 850 power for the -135).
- H90 - a trainer version of the U-21, designated the T-44A Pegasus. Was used to train United States Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force pilots to fly multi-engine aircraft.