Beechcraft Duchess

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Model 76 Duchess
1978 model Beech 76 Duchess operated by the National Test Pilot School at the Mojave Airport
Role Four-seat cabin monoplane
Manufacturer Beechcraft
First flight September 1974[1]
Introduction 1978[1]
Primary user Flight schools[1]
Produced 1978-1983
Number built 437
Developed from Beechcraft Sierra
US registered 1979 model Duchess
1979 model Duchess

The Beechcraft Model 76 Duchess is an American twin-engined monoplane built by Beechcraft intended partly as a low cost introduction to twin-engine aircraft.[1][2]


Developed as Model PD289 (Preliminary Design 289), the prototype was unveiled on November 4, 1974, although it had first flown in September 1974.[1][3]: 409–410  The Model 76 was designed as an economical twin-engine trainer for the Beech Aero Centers and to compete with the similar Gulfstream Cougar as well as the Cessna 310.[1][4]

The first production version flew on 24 May 1977, and the name "Duchess" was chosen through a company competition.[1][3] Construction of the Duchess was set for a new factory built at the Liberal Division,[5] with deliveries beginning early in 1978.[3]: 473 

Production of the Duchess continued until 1983, with no significant changes.[6] A single example was tested with turbocharged engines in 1979, but did not proceed to production.[7]: 56 


The Duchess is an all-metal low-wing monoplane with retractable tricycle landing gear and a T-tail. It seats four.[8] The design used components and the bonded wing construction from Beechcraft's single-engined Musketeer line.[7]: 55  The basic fuselage and wing structure was adapted from the Model 24 Sierra, a Musketeer variant with retractable landing gear, but the Sierra wing spar was redesigned to support the added weight of the engines.[9] Nose landing gear from the A36 Bonanza was used.[9]

The Model 76 incorporates right and left "handed" Lycoming O-360 engines that rotate in opposing directions to eliminate the critical engine during single engine operation.[10]

In 1979, a single example was converted to test the turbocharged versions of the engine. The cowlings were reshaped and the exhaust moved to accommodate the aft-mounted turbochargers.[7]: 56 

The Duchess wing is of aluminum honeycomb construction fastened by bonding, rather than rivets, to reduce cost and produce a smoother aerodynamic surface.[10]


The use of a T-tail on the Model 76 met with mixed critical reception when the aircraft was introduced. Plane & Pilot pronounced: "Outstanding design characteristics of the new Duchess include an aerodynamically advantageous T-tail, which places the horizontal surfaces above the propeller slipstream for better stability and handling.",[10] while Gerald Foster said: "[Beechcraft's] interest in T-tails was perhaps an affectation triggered by their wide use on jet airliners".[11] AVweb claims that Beechcraft adopted the T-tail after flight tests revealed that the initially used conventional horizontal stabilizer was too small and suffered from buffeting problems, increasing noise and vibration during flight; moving the horizontal stabilizer out of the propeller slipstream eliminated the buffeting and the need for enlargement while adding only 15 pounds (6.8 kg) of weight.[9] Additionally, the T-tail design moved the stabilizer rearward, increasing its effectiveness and giving the aircraft a broader center of gravity range.[9] The later Piper Seminole also adopted a T-tail.[9]


Model 76 Duchess
Four-seat, twin-engine (Lycoming O-360), low-winged trainer with bonded aluminum construction.
Model 76TC Duchess
Unofficial designation for single test aircraft using turbocharged Lycoming O-360.


The aircraft remains popular with flight training schools.


1976 model Duchess instrument panel

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1980–81.[17]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 29 ft 0+12 in (8.85 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
  • Wing area: 181 sq ft (16.8 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 7.973:1
  • Airfoil: NACA 632A415
  • Empty weight: 2,460 lb (1,116 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,900 lb (1,769 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 100 US gal (83 imp gal; 380 L)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lycoming O-360-A1G6D air-cooled flat-four engines, 180 hp (130 kW) each
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Hartzell HC-M2YR-2C(L)EUF/F(J)C 7666A constant speed propellers


  • Cruise speed: 158 kn (182 mph, 293 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • Stall speed: 60 kn (69 mph, 110 km/h) power off, flaps down, IAS
  • Never exceed speed: 171 kn (197 mph, 317 km/h)
  • Range: 780 nmi (900 mi, 1,440 km) at 12,000 ft (3,700 m), econ cruise
  • Service ceiling: 19,650 ft (5,990 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,248 ft/min (6.34 m/s)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Green, William: Observers Aircraft, page 48. Frederick Warne Publishing, 1980. ISBN 0-7232-1604-5
  2. ^ Collins, Richard L. (February 5, 2008). "What Happened to the Piston Twin?". Flying. Bonnier Corporation. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c McDaniel, William H. (1982). The History of Beech: Fifty Years of Excellence. Wichita, Kansas: McCormick-Armstrong Co. ISBN 0-911978-00-3.
  4. ^ Phillips, Edward (June 8, 2017). "The "Baby Beechcraft" - Part Two". KingAir Magazine.
  5. ^ "To provide increased final assembly facilities". Aviation Week & Space Technology: 15. December 20, 1976.
  6. ^ "Beech Plans to Close Plant at Liberal, Kan". Aviation Week & Space Technology: 27. February 18, 1985.
  7. ^ a b c Phillips, Edward H. (1992). Beechcraft: Pursuit of Perfection (2nd ed.). Eagan, Minnesota: Flying Books. ISBN 0-911139-11-7.
  8. ^ Frawley, Gerard (2003). The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. p. 41. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Beechcraft Duchess". August 5, 2005. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, page 84. Werner & Werner Corp, Santa Monica CA, 1977. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  11. ^ Montgomery, MR & Gerald Foster: A Field Guide to Airplanes, Second Edition, page 92. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1992. ISBN 0-395-62888-1
  12. ^ Stowell, Rick (2007). The Light Airplane Pilot's Guide to Stall/spin Awareness: Featuring the PARE Spin Recovery Checklsit. Rich Stowell, Master CFI-A. p. 447. ISBN 9781879425439.
  13. ^ "Beech 76A Duchess". NTPS. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "Army Instrumentation Facility: Airborne Laboratory Atmospheric Research (ALAR)". Purdue University. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  15. ^ "Rutan Voyager". Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Scaled Composites: SpaceShipOne" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  17. ^ Taylor 1980, pp. 268–269.

External links[edit]