Beechcraft 1900 Beechliner

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Type: Civilian

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Information on the 1900 Beechliner

The Beechcraft 1900 Beechliner is a twin-engine civilian turboprop airplane manufactured by the Beechcraft Division of Raytheon Company. It is typically used in regional airline, corporate, and freight operations.

Development and Certification

The Beechcraft 1900 was developed from the Beechcraft King Air 200 business transport aircraft.

The first flight was on September 3, 1982. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification was awarded in November 1983, and the 1900 entered service in February, 1984. The FAA originally certified the Beechcraft 1900 to Special FAR 41C airworthiness standards under the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), although later aircraft were certified to FAR Part 23 "Commuter Category" airworthiness standards. The first ExecLiner corporate transport version was delivered in 1985.

Variants, Common Design Features, and Number Delivered

The original design was known simply as the Beechcraft 1900, without a letter suffix. It featured a passenger boarding door near the rear of the aircraft, much like the smaller King Airs. The design was not well-received, and only a few airframes were built. Serial numbers of this aircraft begin with the letters "UA", e.g., serial number UA-1 for the first aircraft.

After the original design proved unpopular, Beechcraft moved the passenger boarding door to the front of the plane, just behind the cockpit, and redesigned the aft (rear) door as a cargo door. To call attention to the new configuration, Beechcraft renamed the aircraft 1900C (for the cargo door). Other than the redesigned door layout, early 1900Cs were substantially similar to the original 1900s. The early 1900Cs use "UB" serial numbers. Many UB 1900Cs remain in service.

Airplanes ordinarily store fuel in the wings. On UA and UB models, the 1900/1900C employs a bladder-type fuel tank system in the wings. Later 1900Cs used a "wet wing" fuel system, that is, sections of the wing are sealed off as fuel tanks. This allowed much more fuel to be stored in the wings, substantially improving the airplane's range. These 1900Cs use "UC" serial numbers. This change proved popular, and the UC is the most common version of the 1900C.

A few military 1900Cs were manufactured. The military version of the Beechcraft King Air is called the C-12 Huron. The military version of the 1900C is known as the C-12J Huron. The few military C-12Js have "UD" serial numbers.

The 1900 and 1900C were certified by the FAA pursuant to SFAR 41C.

While the 1900C had become a popular regional airliner, Beechcraft undertook a substantial redesign of the aircraft, and in 1991 introduced the new version of the airplane, called the 1900D.

Because most 19-passenger airliners and most business jets have fairly small passenger cabins, the ceilings are low enough that passengers cannot walk inside without bending forward. The 1900 and 1900C share this characteristic. The 1900D was designed to remedy this by providing a stand-up cabin, allowing most passengers to walk upright. The 1900D is the only 19-seat airliner with this feature.

Because the taller passenger cabin adds both weight and drag to the airplane, other design elements of the 1900D were also changed. More powerful engines and modified propellers were installed, winglets were added to the tips of the wings to reduce drag and increase the wings' efficiency, and the tail was made larger in response to the more powerful engines. The cockpit was updated with electronic flight instrument systems known as EFIS (sometimes also called a "glass cockpit"). Finally, the 1900D was certified under the the new FAR Part 23 "Commuter Category" standard, which replaced the earlier SFAR 41C. All 1900D aircraft have "UE" serial numbers. The 1900D is the most popular version of the Beechliner, with nearly twice as many 1900Ds as 1900Cs built.

Since all 1900s were designed from the King Air, all 1900s share certain characteristics with each other, and with the King Air. Cockpit controls and operations are similar to the King Air. While U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations require airlines to use two pilots, the airplane is designed so it can be flown by a single pilot in corporate or cargo operations, much like the King Air.

More than 600 Beechcraft 1900 aircraft have been delivered.

Recent market trends have favored larger 50- to 90-seat regional jets, and while many airlines continue to fly the Beechcraft 1900, orders for additional aircraft have fallen off. Raytheon ended production of the Beechcraft 1900 in October, 2002.

Why 19 Seats?

Smaller regional airliners are frequently limited to 19 seats in order to comply with a Federal Aviation Administration limitation requiring aircraft designed to carry more than 19 passengers to have a flight attendant on board. For smaller regional airlines or routes on which few passengers travel, the additional personnel costs associated with having a flight attendant may make operations too costly.

In addition to the Beechcraft 1900, other 19-seat airliners include the De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, the Dornier Do 228, the Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante, the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, and the Handley Page Jetstream 31.

Powerplants, Propellers, and Fuel

The 1900 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engines, which have a history of excellent reliability.

The Beechcraft 1900C uses two PT6A-65B engines, each rated at 1,100 shaft horsepower. The 1900D uses two PT6A-67D engines, each rated at 1,279 shaft horsepower.

The propellers are manufactured by Hartzell, with four blades on each propeller. On the 1900C, the blades are metal. On the 1900D, the blades are made from composite materials.

The recommended fuel is Jet A. The engines are approved for limited operations on other forms of jet fuel and even on aviation-grade gasoline.

Why turboprop engines?

All modern airliners use gas turbine engines, either jet engines or turboprops. This is because turbines tend to be much more reliable and less prone to failure than reciprocating engines, also known as piston engines.

Jet engines use the jet exhaust for thrust to push the airplane forward. Turboprop engines use the jet thrust to spin a propeller. The advantages of turboprop engines are:

1. The propeller pushes more air than an equivalent-sized jet engine, so the engine is very fuel efficient. This is particularly effective in the denser air at lower altitudes, and

2. The propellers allow the airplane to accelerate very quickly and stop very efficiently, which allows the airplane to use shorter runways.

The disadvantages of having propellers are:

1. They limit the airplane's top speed, and

2. They create more noise and vibration than a jet.


The 1900D cruises at about 260 knots true airspeed (300 mph or 480 km/h). Ordinary trip lengths range from 100 to 600 miles (20 minutes to two hours), but with full fuel tanks, the aircraft is capable of flying well in excess of 1,000 nautical miles. Airlines often prefer the 1900 over jet aircraft for shorter routes due to its fuel efficiency, and because trip times are not significantly longer on distances up to 300 miles (480 km).

The cabin is pressurized, and the airplane is certified to fly up to an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,600 meters). It is designed to operate in most weather conditions, including icing conditions, and it is usually equipped with weather radar to help pilots avoid severe weather.

Airlines and Other Operators

Airlines in the United States which currently operate the Beechcraft 1900 include CommutAir and Gulfstream International (as Continental Connection), Air Midwest, Colgan Air and Mesa Airlines (as US Airways Express), Skyway Airlines (as Midwest Connect), Great Lakes Airlines, Big Sky Airlines, Scenic Airlines and Chalk's Ocean Airways. Cargo operators such as Ameriflight also operate the 1900.

Airlines in Canada which operate the Beechcraft 1900 include Air Georgian, Air Labrador, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Pronto Airways, and Sunwest Aviation.

Airlines in Europe which operate the Beechcraft 1900 include Denmark's Danish Air Transport, France's Twin Jet, Germany's Avanti Air and Private Wings Flugcharter, Malta's Medavia, Spain's Binter Canarias, and Sweden's Nextjet.

Other airlines operate Beechcraft 1900s in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere around the world, as do many corporate and freight operators.

The last 16 Beechcraft 1900D airliners built were sold to Eagle Airways to provide regional services for Air New Zealand.

Military and government operators include Egypt, Taiwan, the United Nations, and the United States.

Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Beechcraft 1900".

1900 Beechliner Specifications

Wing span (over winglets): 17.67m (58ft 0in)
Length: 17.63m (57ft 10in)
Height: 4.72m (15ft 6in)
Empty weight: 4,831kg (10,650lb)
Maximum takeoff weight: 7,688kg (17,120lb)
Engines: Two 955kW (1,279shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67D turboprops
Fuel Capacity: 4,484 lb.
Fuel Type: Jet A recommended, others usable.
Service Ceiling: 25,000 feet
Maximum operating speed: 248 knots indicated airspeed to 13,200' altitude, Mach 0.48 above.
Typical cruising speed: 260 kt. true airspeed (300 mph / 480 km/h)
Maximum range: 2,776km (1,498nm)

Additional 1900 Beechliner Photos

Beechcraft 1900 Beechliner - Facing forward in the cabin of a Beechcraft 1900.

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