Beechcraft Starship

The Beechcraft Starship was a twin turboprop pusher with a canard design and composite construction. It was first produced in 1983 and was intended to be the successor to Beechcraft’s 15-year-old King Air 200 for the executive transport market. Beech turned to legendary innovative designer Burt Rutan and his company, Scaled Composites. The goal was to design an aircraft that had a large quiet cabin like the King Air but with a reduced weight, improved structural stability and good efficiency. The Starship earned the first FAA certification for a full composite business class aircraft. The value of composite over metal construction is in its light weight and strength. By using composites like carbon graphite, E-glass and Kevlar, the Starship avoids the long-term structural weaknesses inherent to aluminum airframes. Corrosion, even near the ocean is a non-issue. Composite also doesn’t transmit noise or vibration as much as aluminum – making for a quieter ride. Despite all of the research, innovation and collaboration that went into designing it, the financial legacy of the Beechcraft Starship is one of exorbitant failure. Of the fifty-three Starships that were produced, few were sold. The majority of the fleet were leased by Beechcraft’s parent company Raytheon until they decided to decommission them in 2003. When Raytheon decommissioned their fleet, they dismantled or destroyed the majority of their Starships along with any units they were able to buy back from private parties, although they do still have 2 registered aircraft located in Wichita, KS. All told, 24 Starships have been confirmed dismantled or destroyed. Most of their remains are at a boneyard in Marana, AZ.

Model being redrawn

Prototype

NC-23 - N39TU

Planned

In Progress