Tom Horne

Shuttling with Hawker-Beechcraft

April 15, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

I was luckiest with my departrure from Sun ‘n Fun. I hitched a ride with Hawker Beech’s Trevor Blackmer, Brady Stewart, and two other HBC employees aboard a Premier IA and a King Air B200GT. The Premier flight took us to HBC’s service center at Tampa Intl. From there, it was on to Wichita in the B200. Like the C90GTi I recently flew (look for the full story in June’s AOPA Pilot) the B200 now has the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite.

The leg from Tampa to Little Rock was three hours–headwinds were large, maxing out at 117 knots at our cruise altitude of FL260. True airspeeds were 282 knots under warmish (-28 degrees C, or ISA +8 degrees) conditions.  The restaurant in the Little Rock FBO served what it calls “The World’s Greatest Aviation Burger,” and, yes, I ordered one up. This massive slab o’ beef overwhelmed me and, in a first, I walked away from half of this bovine artery-buster.

One more hour put us in Wichita. What a capable airplane! It flew seven and lotsa bags … to meet our weight limits all we had to do was trade 1,000 lbs of fuel for pax. Best of all, I got to learn more about the Pro Line 21.

Now I’m dreading the airline flight back to BWI–it’s an American flight, and it launches at 6:55 a.m. from ICT. Seven hours later, I’m home. That’s three hours more than the trip from TPA to ICT. I’ll take GA any time over the airlines.

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