Textron Aviation Special Mission King Air 260s join U.S Forest Service to support wildland fire management

Textron Aviation Press Release | August 18, 2022

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 2 seconds.

Textron Aviation on Aug. 18 announced it has delivered two Beechcraft King Air 260 aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service. The aircraft will perform wildfire mapping missions. 

The Beechcraft King Air 260 is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company.  

Beechcraft King Air 260 for the U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Mapping Mission. Textron Photo

“We are honored the U.S. Forest Service has added the King Air 260 to its fleet,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales for Textron Aviation. “Whether for the wildfire detection and mapping, resource management, aerial supervision module/lead plane or air attack, the King Air continues to demonstrate its leadership in this mission. Customer faith in our legendary products and trust in our company and our team are at the core of our enduring relationship with U.S Forest Service.”

The King Air 260 aircraft have been modified for the installation of the latest infrared (IR) sensing technology, the Overwatch Imaging TK-9 Earthwatch Airborne Sensor, along with legacy U.S. Forest Service sensors, that can accurately map wildfires, even at night and through smoke. This information is critical for firefighters to have when the exact extent of a fire is not known due to darkness, smoke, size of the fire, rapid spread, or complex terrain. IR mapping aircraft can also be used to detect new fires started by lightning when they are very small.

More than 7,700 Beechcraft King Air turboprops have been delivered to customers around the world since 1964, making it the best-selling business turboprop family in the world. The worldwide fleet has surpassed 62 million flight hours in its 58 years, serving roles in all branches of the U.S. military and flying both commercial and special mission roles around the world.

About the King Air 260

The King Air 260 brings state-of-the art technology to the cockpit and offers greater ease of flight. The cockpit features the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle system, which supports pilots in their critical mission of delivering people or cargo by automatically managing engine power from the takeoff roll through the climb, cruise, descent, landing, and go-around phases of flight. This enhancement reduces pilot workload and is designed to prevent over-speed or under-speed, over-temp and over-torque conditions. 

The King Air 260 cockpit also features a digital pressurization controller, which automatically schedules cabin pressurization during both climb and descent, reducing pilot workload and increasing overall passenger comfort. The pressurization gauges have been integrated with the powerful Collins Aerospace Pro Line Fusion flight deck.

The aircraft includes the Collins Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar, providing pilots with a fully automatic system that is optimized to detect short, mid and long-range weather.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Textron Aviation

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