Textron Aviation recently delivered a mission-ready Beechcraft King Air 350CER turboprop to the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Marine & Aviation Operations (OMAO). NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts and conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.
The new aircraft joins another King Air 350CER aircraft delivered to NOAA in May 2009 that has since been used for coastal mapping and aerial survey missions, as well as critical emergency response missions, including photographic survey after earthquakes, oil spills, and numerous blizzards, tornados, floods and named hurricanes.
The King Air 350CER aircraft is an extended-range version of the King Air 350i twin-engine turboprop aircraft configured with an optional cargo door, adding enhanced mission flexibility. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-60As, or optional factory installed PT6A-67A turboprop engines, with Hartzell four-blade propellers, and a fully integrated Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion digital avionics suite with touchscreen controls.
With extended range capabilities, NOAA’s King Air 350CER aircraft can collect critical information while remaining airborne for up to eight hours. The dual-sensor port modification allows simultaneous data collection from multiple on-board sensors. Optical grade glass plates in the sensor ports allow the cabin to remain pressurized or the optical plates can be removed, and the aircraft operated unpressurized. NOAA’s fleet of manned aircraft is operated, managed and maintained by the Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), part of the agency’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida.