Beechcraft Skipper

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Beechcraft Model 77 Skipper
Beechcraft77Skipper01A.jpg
Role Light utility aircraft
Manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corporation
First flight September 12, 1978
Introduction 1979
Produced 1979-1981
Number built 312

The Beechcraft Model 77 Skipper is a two-seat, fixed tricycle gear general aviation airplane, originally designed for flight training but also used for touring and personal flying.[1][2]

Design and development[edit]

The Skipper was conceived with the design goals of creating a low acquisition cost primary trainer with an emphasis on ease of maintenance and low operating costs.[2]

Design work on the Skipper began in 1974 as the PD 285,[3] which made its maiden flight on February 6, 1975.[2][4] The Skipper was Beechcraft's attempt to enter the two-place trainer market with an aircraft capable of competing with the popular Cessna 150/152 line of trainer aircraft. Though the aircraft first flew with a standard tail configuration, by the time it entered production, a T-tail configuration had been adopted, giving it an appearance very similar to its close competitor, the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk of 1978 to 1982.[1][2]

Like the Cessna and Piper trainers which were its primary competition, the Skipper utilizes the Lycoming O-235 engine and features side-by-side configuration seating.[2]

The Skipper wing utilizes a GA(W)-1 airfoil,[3] specifically developed for low-speed aviation applications, based on 1970s NASA research.[2] The aircraft was certified for intentional spins.[3] While it is an all-metal design, the Skipper incorporates a number of innovative construction techniques, including honeycomb bonding, tubular spars, and a hot-bonded wing structure. The flaps and ailerons are actuated by torque tubes, rather than cables.[2] The landing gear is mounted to the fuselage/wing junction, but has a 5.17 ft (2 m) wide wheelbase, giving it a "spraddle-legged" appearance on the ground.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The Skipper had the misfortune of being introduced at the beginning of a severe downturn in general aviation aircraft production in the United States. During its first year 1979, 47 were built, 140 in 1980, and 125 in 1981.[3] A total of 312 aircraft were built.

Most of the production run was initially delivered to Beechcraft's flight school network, the Beech Aero Centers, where they were used as primary trainers.[1] A handful of Skippers are still in use as trainers. Many others are in the hands of private owners who use them as touring aircraft.

Specifications[edit]

Beechcraft 77 Skipper

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1980–81[5] and Observer's Book of Aircraft 1981[2]

General characteristics

Performance

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d Montgomery, M.R. and Gerald Foster: A Field Guide to Airplanes, Second Edition, page 26. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. ISBN 0-395-62888-1
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Green, William: Observers Aircraft, pages 40-41. Frederick Warne Publishing, 1981. ISBN 0-7232-1618-5
  3. ^ a b c d Phillips, Edward H. Beechcraft - Staggerwing to Starship. Flying Books, 1987. ISBN 0-911139-06-0.
  4. ^ Air Enthusiast December 1975, p. 312.
  5. ^ Taylor 1980, p. 265.
Bibliography

External links[edit]

Media related to Beechcraft Model 77 at Wikimedia Commons