At the press conference, HBC announced the shape of its new lineup, and it was a big departure from business as usual.
While the new Beechcraft will keep every propeller airplane in its current lineup, it will add a number of new propeller-driven derivatives, giving it a range of models from about $800,000 through about $8 million that will constitute Beechcraft’s entire new-airplane product line. That segment, says HBC, is worth approximately $3 billion a year. The new company will continue to build every one of the models in that market niche it builds today, modify some with new propulsion technology and create exciting new ones.
Beechcraft plans to expand that lineup of six airplanes into 10, though it is understandably guarding many of the details associated with that plan. A light jet, it stresses, is not in the cards. As tempting as they can be, such programs are inherently risky because of their monumental R&D and certification costs.
New models will likely include turbodiesel versions of the Bonanza and Baron, at least one turboprop single and a new twin turboprop. HBC’s vice president of marketing, Jim -Holcombe, told Flying they would all be very much within the heritage of Beechcraft that came before.
The lineup will very tightly but smartly fill the target niche, Holcombe said, giving buyers the ability to move easily from one platform to the next within the Beechcraft lineup. Holcombe said 70 percent of individual King Air owners, for example, owned a Bonanza and/or a Baron in the past.