The company I work with is involved in a four way partnership that just sold an old King Air C90. They want to upgrade to a newer model C90B or a B200. Most trips are 1 to 4 people with the occasional trip stuffed to the gills into a high alt airport. Question, with the 257 knot block speed of the B200 vs 222 for the C90B, it appears from my research that the operating costs per mile are very similar and the only difference will be capital investment. I say the increase in safety and load capacity for the occasional “heavy trip” is worth the extra up front cost because both fixed and variable operating costs are nearly equal per mile. Am I correct in this assessment or all wet? I need advice from more knowledgeble folks. Please comment. Thanks.
Let me preface this by saying that I’ve got several thousand hours in all 3 current KingAir models, so my info is “real world” from a line pilot, not just someone looking at numbers on a page. I hope that the info is helpful.
I would definitely recommend the B200. The C90B is a fine airplane with a couple folks in the back, but 3 or 4 gets pretty crowded. Also, the 200 offers a VAST improvement in performance, payload, and safety margin in all situations.
The B200 can carry 3 1/2 hrs of fuel (full mains) and 4 pax and still be roughly 700 lbs below max T/O weight; on the C90B you are already sacrificing fuel just to carry 4 pax! Being able to take of well below the max T/O weight offers nicely improved safety and performance.
You didn’t mention typical trip lengths, so I can’t say much on that except that your pax will be much more comfortable in the B200.
You can figure block speeds of 270 kts for the B200 and about 230 kts for the C90B. Fuel burns around 800lbs 1st hr/ 700lbs 2nd hr for the B200; figure 600 lbs per hr on the C90B unless you are going pretty high.
You should try to arrange for a charter in a B200 if possible, or at least get 4 pax to sit in a 90 and then in a 200, they will definitely appreciate the room the 200 offers. And in the event you need to really “load up” the 200 offers 7 seats and ample baggage space too. Let me know if there are any other specifics you have questions on.
I’m curious if you’ve considered a Pilatus or TBM. Admittedly single engine, but there has never been an in-flight engine stoppage in a TBM and the operating costs are about half of a King Air. The TBM cruises at 320 knots, so much faster than either King Air.
Thanks for the replies, the info is very useful. They are not considering a model other than a KA due to familiarity. That was something they determined early on. I spoke with our pilot this weekend and he has quite a few ours in KA’s and said things very similar to trafly. Thanks for your perspective.
Happy to help. As I said before, the 90 is a fine little airplane, but to carry 4 or 5 folks, you can’t beat the 200 for comfort and safety. Best of luck. Let us know how this turns out.
I’m a little late to the party, but what about the 90GT? Flat rated -135 (I think) engines will do fine at the high altitues, better climb than the C90B and faster, too; although it likes thin air for the speed.
the 200 likes more runway if short field is a problem. If occasional trips are 1 or 2 times a year, you need to consider the cost of the capital to justify that.
also, trip length will be a huge influence on $ per mile. You didn’t say what a typical lengths were.
I’ve flown both, can’t go wrong either way. Happy pilots = Happy passengers.