Beechcraft 2000A Starship - Pima ASM, Tucson, AZ
Posted by: kb7ywl
N 32° 08.287 W 110° 52.113
12S E 512397 N 3555752
Quick Description: Beechcraft 2000A Starship s/n NC-23 r/n N39TU
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 3/12/2012 12:30:27 AM
Waymark Code: WMDZ3F
The Beechcraft Starship is a twin-turboprop six- to eight-passenger pressurized business aircraft produced by Beech Aircraft Corporation (now Beechcraft Division of Hawker-Beechcraft).
Development of the Starship began in 1979 when Beech decided to explore designs for a successor to its King Air line of turboprops that would fly faster and carry more passengers. The design was originated by Beechcraft in January 1980 as Preliminary Design 330 (PD 330). On August 25, 1982, Beech contracted with Scaled Composites to refine the design and build an 85% scale proof-of-concept (POC) aircraft. One of the significant changes made to the design by Scaled Composites was the addition of variable geometry to the canard.
The POC aircraft first flew in August 1983. This aircraft had no pressurization system, no certified avionics, and a different airframe design and material specifications than the planned production Model 2000. Only one POC was built and it has since been scrapped.
Prototypes were produced even as development work was continuing—a system demanded by the use of composite materials, as the tooling required is very expensive and has to be built for production use from the outset. Beech built three airworthy full-scale prototypes. NC-1 was used for aerodynamic testing and was the only Starship equipped with conventional electro-mechanical avionics. NC-2 was used for avionics and systems testing and NC-3 was used for flight management system and powerplant testing. NC-1 first flew on February 15, 1986.
The program was delayed several times, at first due to underestimating the developmental complexity and manufacturing learning curve of the production composite construction, and later due to the technical difficulties of correcting a pitch damping problem and developing the stall-warning system. By the end of development, the Starship had grown larger in cabin volume than the King Air 350 while having the same gross ramp weight of 15,010lb/6,808kg. Starship development cost $300 million. The first production Starship flew on April 25, 1989.
The Starship is noteworthy for its carbon fiber composite airframe, canard design, lack of centrally located vertical tail, and pusher engine/propeller configuration.
Carbon fiber composite was used to varying degrees on military aircraft, but at the time the Starship was certified, no civilian aircraft certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration had ever used it so extensively. Beech chose carbon fiber composite for its durability and high strength-to-weight ratio. According to Beech, the Starship weighs less than it would have if it were built from aluminum. Nonetheless, the empty weight of production aircraft exceeded the target by several thousand pounds.
Beech studied several configurations before settling on a canard configuration in early 1980. As configured, the Starship is difficult to stall—the forward surface stalls before the main lifting surface, which allows the nose to drop and more-normal flight to resume.
A traditionally located vertical tail would have transmitted propeller noise into the airframe. In its place, directional stability and control is provided by rudders mounted in the winglets (Beechcraft called them tipsails) at the tips of the wings.
Mounting the engines so that the propellers are facing rearward, pushing rather than pulling the aircraft, has the potential of a quieter ride since the propellers are further from the passengers and because vortices from the propeller tips do not strike the fuselage sides. However, the propellers are operating in a turbulent airflow in the pusher configuration (due to airflow past the wings moving aft in vortex sheets) and high-velocity exhaust gasses are discharged directly into the props, thus the resulting external propeller noise is more choppy and raucous than otherwise.
Flight instrumentation for the Starship included a 14-tube Proline 4 AMS-850 "glass cockpit" supplied by Rockwell-Collins, the first application of an all-glass cockpit in a business aircraft.
Beech sold only eleven Starships in the three years following its certification. Beech attributed the slow sales to the economic slowdown in the late-1980's, the novelty of the Starship, and the tax on luxury items that was in effect in the United States at the time. In an effort to stimulate demand, Beech began offering two-year leases on new Starships in 1991.
The last Starship, NC-53, was produced in 1995. In 2003 Beechcraft determined that supporting such a small fleet of airplanes was cost-prohibitive and began scrapping and incinerating the aircraft under its control. The aircraft were sent to the Evergreen Air Center located at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona for destruction. Beech worked with owners of privately-owned Starships to replace their airplanes with other Beech aircraft such as the Premier I jet.
In 2004 Raytheon sold its entire inventory of Starship parts to a Starship owner for a fraction of its retail value.
Hawker-Beechcraft continues to offer support by phone. Rockwell-Collins has maintained full support for the AMS-850 avionics suite.
As of January 2010, nine Starships hold an active registration with the FAA. Three Starships are registered in Oklahoma (NC-29, NC-35 & NC-45), one in Washington (NC-50), one in Colorado (NC-51), and four are registered to Hawker-Beechcraft in Wichita, KS (NC-2, NC-8, NC-19 & NC-24). NC-51 was used as a chase plane during the re-entry phase of Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne. In October 2008 NC-29 was the first of the five remaining privately-owned airworthy Starships to complete RVSM certification, returning the aircraft's service ceiling to the original FL410 limit.
Evergreen Air Center sold 24 Starships back to private owners for $50,000 each. Most are being used for parts; however, one of these aircraft has since been made airworthy again. Some former Starship parts have been used on the Epic turboprop kitplane.
Queensland Institute for Aviation Engineering in Caloundra, Queensland, Australia, purchased NC-28 in November 2004 for use in various training programs. Salt Lake Community College uses a Starship in their Aviation Maintenance program.
Type of Aircraft: (make/model): Beechcraft 2000A Starship
Tail Number: (S/N): s/n NC-23 r/n N39TU
Construction:: original aircraft
Location (park, airport, museum, etc.): Located at Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ
inside / outside: outside
Pima Air & Space Museum
6000 E Valencia Rd
Tucson, Arizona 85756
Open 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Daily
Last admittance at 4:00 PM
$12.50-Pima Co Residents
FREE---Children 6 & under
Photo of aircraft (required - will be interesting to see if the aircraft is ever repainted or progress if being restored)
Photo of serial number (required unless there is not one or it is a replica)
Photo(s) of any artwork on the aircraft (optional but interesting)
Tell why you are visiting this waymark along with any other interesting facts or personal experiences about the aircraft not already mentioned.
|There are no logs for this waymark yet.