|Beechcraft Baron 58P|
|Role||Civil utility aircraft|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||February 29, 1960 |
|Primary user||United States Army (historical)|
|Developed from||Beechcraft Travel Air|
Design and development
The direct predecessor of the Baron was the Beechcraft 95 Travel Air, which incorporated the fuselage of the Bonanza and the tail control surfaces of the T-34 Mentor military trainer. To create the new airplane, the Travel Air's tail was replaced with that of the Beechcraft Debonair, the engine nacelles were streamlined, six-cylinder engines were added, and the aircraft's name was changed. In 1960, the Piper Aztec was introduced, utilizing two, 250 hp Lycoming O-540 engines; Cessna too had improved their 310 with two Continental IO-470 D, producing 260 hp. Meanwhile, Beechcraft's Bonanza had been improved with a Continental IO-470-N, but the answer to competition was to make a true twin engined variant of the Bonanza. The first model, the 55, was powered by two, six-cylinder IO-470-L engines, producing 260 hp at 2,625rpm; it was introduced in 1961. It included the fully swept vertical stabilizer of the Debonair, while still retaining the four to four+five place seating of the Travel Air.
Since its inception, the Baron has always been near the top of the light airplane hierarchy. In 2008 a new Baron costs roughly $1,040,000. As expensive to operate as it is to buy, the 'next step up' from a Baron is a very big one. Faster aircraft, with greater range and more load-carrying capability are generally turbine-powered and far more expensive. The older Baron variants, mainly the 55 series, have dropped little in value, with their fair market prices numerically equal to that of their original pricing, in today's dollars.
Barons come in three basic types: the Baron 55 (short body), Baron 56 (short body) and Baron 58 (long body), with several sub-variants each.
The early Baron 55, A55 and B55 were fitted with 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470 engines and had gross weights of 4880 to 5100 lb (2,200 to 2,300 kg). These had a typical cruise speed of 190 knots (350 km/h) at 7000 ft (2100 m), and came with 116 or 136 US gallon (440 or 515 L) fuel tanks.
The C55, D55 and E55 models had an increased cruise speed of 200 knots (370 km/h) due to the 285 hp (213 kW) Continental IO520s. The gross weights of these later models increased to 5300 lb (2400 kg). They were about a foot (0.3 m) longer than the B55 Barons, and came with 136, 142, or 166 US gallon (515 or 628 L) fuel tanks.
Model 55 Barons were produced from 1961 to 1983, with 3,651 manufactured.
- Model 95-55 Baron
- Baron prototype.
- Introduced 1961. Four to five seat, twin engined transport, powered by two 260-hp Continental IO-470-l six cylinder piston engines. 190 units built. Priced at $58,250.
- Built 1962 through 1963. Four to five seats. Improvements were a new instrument panel, interior, and exterior paint scheme. Priced at $58,950.
- Introduced in 1964, run through 1982. Four to six-seats. New exterior scheme and interior design. A 120 lb (54 kg) increase in gross weight to 5,100 lb (2,313 kg). Priced at $59,950 (1964), $177,500 (1982).
- Built 1966 through 1967. Four to six seats. Powered by two, 285-hp Continental IO-520-C piston engines. Increased performance over the B55. Nose lengthened to accommodate more baggage, avionic equipment, and to improve weight and balance. Crack prone engine air intake box design changed. Alternators changed from belt driven to gear driven. 451 aircraft built. Priced at $68,350 in 1966.
- Built 1968 through 1969. Four to six seats. Introduced new paint scheme and 'speed-slope' windshield. Changed to three blade props and a different flap configuration. 316 aircraft built. Priced at $73,950 in 1968.
- Introduced in 1970, run through 1982. Four to six seats. Incorporated new paint scheme and interior design. Improved avionics and panel. Wing-tip lights and rotating beacon made flush; new entrance step. Also added were 172 US gallon (166 usable) interconnected tanks with one fill cap per wing became an option in 1976. 433 built. Priced at $83,950 in 1970, $219,500 in 1982.
In 1967, Beechcraft had begun development of a faster, pressurized twin, the Model 60 Duke; the Duke was to go head-to-head with Cessna's 320 Skyknight. The Duke was to use two turbocharged 380-hp Lycoming TIO-541-E1A4 engines, therefore, Beech wanted experience working with, and flying the new engine. The engine was the 380-hp Lycoming TIO-540-E1B4, Beech produced in limited quantities, fitted to a modified Baron C55, becoming the 56TC (that prototype, EG-1, was later retired after certification). The results of the 56TC were as planned, it proved a good testbed and experience building model for the Duke's development. However, it was a noticeably loud airplane, especially so for a Beechcraft. Along with its increased noise, the 56TC had an increase in structural strength and thus empty weight to compensate for the higher power. When introduced in 1967, it was the fastest Beech aircraft, rivaling even the early King Airs sold at the time. 93 Baron 56TC aircraft were built between 1967 and 1971, with production ending due to Duke sales and the 1970 introduction of the Baron 58.
- Introduced in 1967, built until the 1969 model year. Four to six seats. Power came from two 380-hp (283-kW) Lycoming TIO-540-E1B4 turbocharged piston engines. Priced at $89,950 in 1967. 82 aircraft sold.
- Introduced 1970, built until 1971. Only model change throughout the 56 production. Featured new exterior paint scheme and interior design, new instrument panel, smooth rotating beacon and navigation lights, nose wheel light. Priced at $101,750 in 1970. 11 manufactured.
Introduced for the model year 1969, the larger, more powerful Baron 58 was developed from the Baron 55, introducing club seating, double aft baggage doors, and new gross weight of 5,400 lbs. Depending on the variant, the Baron 58 is fitted with either the Continental IO-520 or IO-550 300-hp engine. The Baron 58 can cruise at 200 knots (370 km/h) at 7000 ft (2100 m). The lengthening of the fuselage increased rear baggage space, as well as providing more comfortable six-place seating over the Baron 55 and 56TC.
In 1976, the turbocharged Baron 58TC and pressurized Baron 58P were introduced. These variants were powered by turbocharged Continental TIO-520s of 310–325 hp (230–240 kW), had an increased 6100–6200 lb (about 2800 kg) gross weight, and were certified under FAR23 with a new type certificate. The Baron 58P/58TC models were capable of cruising at 200 knots (370 km/h) at 8000 ft (2400 m) and 220 knots (410 km/h) at 20000 ft (6100 m), and were typically equipped with 190 US gallon (719 L) fuel tanks.
A big change in panel/system layout on 58/58TC/58P occurred in 1984, including relocating throttle, gear, flap, propeller and mixture controls to industry-standard positions.
Although the turbocharged 58TC/58P variants were discontinued in 1984 and 1985, respectively, the normally aspirated Baron 58 was still in production as of 2015.
- 58 Baron
- Original variant, introduced in 1969 and run through 2004 (production continued as G58). Four to six seats. Powered by two 285-hp Continental IO-520-C or Continental IO-550-C piston engines. 2,124 aircraft built.
- 58P Baron
- Introduced 1976, run through 1985. Pressurized cabin, powered by two Continental TSIO-520-L turbocharged piston engines. Priced at $200,750 in 1976. 495 produced.
- 58TC Baron
- Introduced in 1976, run through 1984. Turbocharged engines, powered by 310 hp Continental TSIO-520-L engines. First flew October 31, 1975. Priced at $170,750 in 1976. 151 aircraft sold.
- G58 Baron
- Introduced in 2005, currently in production. Version of 58 Baron with Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics.
- G58 Baron ISR
- Introduced in 2013, Beechcraft developed a low cost ISTAR aircraft for Fuerzas Unidas de Rapida Acción (FURA), an agency within the Puerto Rico Police Department. In 2014, the aircraft was upgraded with a FLIR 230-HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera system, operator’s console that housed the mapping/mission management computer, a recorder, a multi-band communications radio system and data link for special mission operators.
T-42A Cochise (95-B55B)
The T-42A Cochise is a military version of the Baron 95-B55 for use by the United States Army as an instrument training aircraft. The Army Aviation School took delivery of 65 aircraft, a further five were bought for delivery to the Turkish Army.
SFERMA SF-60 Marquis
A twin 530 hp Astazou X turboprop modification of the Baron first flown in 1961, developed from SFERMA's 1960 Astazou IIA turboprop conversion of a Model 95 Travel Air (SFERMA PD-146 Marquis).
- Presidential Flight – One Baron 55 temporarily transferred during 1989 from the Junta Nacional de Carnes.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77 
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 5
- Length: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)
- Wingspan: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
- Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
- Wing area: 199.2 ft² (18.50 m²)
- Airfoil: NACA 23016.5 at root, NACA 23010.5 at tip
- Empty weight: 3,156 lb (1,431 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 5,100 lb (2,313 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Continental IO-470-L air-cooled six-cylinder horizontally opposed piston engine, 260 hp (194 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 205 knots (380 km/h, 236 mph) at sea level
- Cruise speed: 180 knots (333 km/h, 207 mph) 55% power at 12,000 ft (3,660 m)
- Stall speed: 73 knots (135.5 km/h, 84 mph) IAS, power off, wheels and flaps down
- Range: 942 nmi (1,746 km, 1,085 miles) 65% power at 10,500 ft (3,200 m), 45 min reserves
- Service ceiling: 19,700 ft (6,000 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,670 ft/min (8.5 m/s)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Built in 1962 as part of the A55 production it became the prototype C55
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