The Beechcraft 1900 is a 19-passenger, pressurized twin-engine turboprop fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by the Beechcraft Division of the Raytheon Company (now Beechcraft). It was designed, and is primarily used, as a regional airliner. It is also used as a freight aircraft, corporate transport, and by the United States military and other governments.
The aircraft is designed to carry passengers in all weather conditions from airports with relatively short runways. It is capable of flying in excess of 600 miles (970 km), although few operators use its full-fuel range. In terms of the number of aircraft built and its continued use by many passenger airlines and other users, it is one of the most popular 19-passenger airliners in history.
The 1900 is Beechcraft's third regional airliner. The Beechcraft Model 18 was a 6- to 11-passenger utility aircraft produced from 1937 to 1970, used by the military, airlines, charter operations, corporations for executive transport, and freight carriers. The 15-passenger Beechcraft Model 99 Airliner was designed to replace the Beech 18, and was produced between 1966 and 1975, and from 1982 to 1986. It was also commercially successful and remains in common use with freight airlines such as Ameriflight.
The Beechcraft 1900's design lineage began in 1949 with the Beechcraft Model 50 "Twin Bonanza", a 5 passenger, reciprocating engine utility aircraft designed for the U.S. Army. A larger passenger cabin was added to the Twin Bonanza's airframe, and called the Model 65 "Queen Air." This aircraft was, in turn, further modified by adding turboprop engines and cabin pressurization, and named the Model 90 "King Air." A stretched version of the King Air was later developed and designated the Model 200 "Super King Air". Beechcraft developed the Beechcraft 1900 directly from the Beechcraft Super King Air, in order to provide a pressurized commuterliner to compete with the Swearingen Metro and the British Aerospace Jetstream.
The 1900 first flew on September 3, 1982, with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification awarded on November 22, 1983 under Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 41C airworthiness standards. Like the 1900, the 1900C was certified under SFAR 41C, but the later 1900D version was certified to FAR Part 23 "Commuter Category" standards.
The 1900 entered service in February 1984, with the first ExecLiner corporate version delivered in 1985. A total of 695 Beechcraft 1900 aircraft were built, making the airliner the best-selling 19-passenger airliner in history. With market trends favoring larger 50- to 90-seat regional jets, Raytheon ended production of the Beechcraft 1900 in October 2002. Many airlines continue to fly the 1900.
Since the 1900 is derived from the King Air, all 1900s share certain characteristics with that aircraft. Cockpit controls and operations are similar to those of the King Air. While Federal Aviation Regulations require two pilots for passenger airline operations, the 1900 is designed and certificated for single-pilot operation in corporate or cargo settings, as is the King Air.
The 1900 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engines. The 1900 and 1900C use two PT6A-65B engines, each flat rated at 1,100 shaft horsepower. The 1900D uses two PT6A-67D engines, each rated at 1,279 shaft horsepower.
The propellers are manufactured by Hartzell, with four blades on each propeller. The blades are made from composite materials.
Jet A is the recommended fuel. However, the engines are also approved for limited operations on other types of jet fuel or aviation-grade gasoline.
The 1900D cruises at about 285 knots (328 mph or 528 km/h) true airspeed. Ordinary trip lengths range from 100 to 600 miles (20 minutes to two hours), but with full fuel tanks, the aircraft is capable of flying well in excess of 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km). Airlines often prefer the 1900 over jet aircraft for shorter routes due to its fuel efficiency, and because trip times are not significantly longer on distances up to 300 miles (480 km).
The Beechcraft 1900 can operate safely on relatively short airstrips and it can take off and land on grass and rough runways.
The airplane is certified to fly up to an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,600 m) above mean sea level with its pressurized cabin. It is designed to operate in most weather conditions, including icing conditions, and it is usually equipped with weather radar to help pilots avoid severe weather. The aircraft can be fitted with an optional lavatory, using space otherwise available for passenger seating and cargo storage.
The Beechcraft 1900 is used by the FAA for its Airline Transport Pilot knowledge test section on operating and performance data. Pilots are tested on center of gravity calculations, takeoff and landing performance, and en route fuel burn.
ICAO aircraft designator
The ICAO designator for the 1900 is B190. This is used in ATC flight plans and pilot reports, as well as for aircraft type identification on ATC radar.
The original design is known simply as the Beechcraft 1900. It features two "airstair" passenger boarding doors: one near the tail of the aircraft much like the smaller King Airs, and a second at the front just behind the cockpit. It has a small cargo door near the tail for access to the baggage compartment, which is behind the passenger compartment. Only three airframes were built, with "UA" serial numbers of UA-1, UA-2, and UA-3. UA-1 and UA-2 are stored at a Beechcraft facility in Wichita, Kansas. As of September 2006, UA-3 is in service with Bolivia's Ministry of National Defence in La Paz.
It immediately became clear that two airstair doors were redundant on an aircraft holding only 19 passengers. Beechcraft kept the front airstair, but eliminated the aft airstair door, installing an enlarged cargo door in its place. The changed aircraft was renamed 1900C. Other than the redesigned door layout, the early 1900Cs were substantially similar to the original 1900s. These were assigned serial numbers starting with the letters UB. A total of 74 UB version were built, many of which remain in service. Aircraft in the UA and UB series employ a bladder-type fuel tank system in the wings. Later 1900Cs use a "wet wing" fuel system: entire sections of the wing are sealed off for use as fuel tanks. This design change allowed more fuel to be stored, substantially increasing the 1900C's range. The wet wing 1900Cs were assigned serial numbers beginning with "UC." These aircraft are also referred to as 1900C-1s. The wet wings proved popular, and the UC is the most common version of the low-ceiling 1900, with 174 UC airframes built.
Raytheon manufactured six 1900C aircraft for use by the U.S. military. These were assigned "UD" serial numbers, UD-1 through UD-6.
While the 1900C had become a popular regional airliner, Beechcraft undertook a substantial redesign of the aircraft, and in 1991 introduced a new version called the 1900D.
The 1900 and 1900C, like most 19-passenger airliners and business jets, have fairly small passenger cabins, with ceilings so low that passengers cannot walk through the interior without bending forward. The 1900D was designed to remedy this by providing a "stand-up cabin," which would allow most passengers to walk upright. It is one of only two 19-seat airliners with this feature, the other being the British Aerospace Jetstream 31/32.
Because the taller passenger cabin adds both weight and drag to the airplane, other elements of the 1900D were also changed. More powerful engines and modified propellers were installed, winglets were added to reduce drag and increase the wings' efficiency, and the tail was made larger in response to the more powerful engines. The cockpit was updated with an Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS). The 1900D was certified under the then-new FAR Part 23 "Commuter Category" standards, which had replaced the earlier SFAR 41C. Since the UD serial numbers were already in use by the military 1900s, the 1900D airplanes have serial numbers beginning with UE. The 1900D is the most popular version of the airliner, with 439 of the 1900D built.
The U.S. military designation for the Beechcraft 1900C is C-12J. This is a variant of the C-12 Huron, which is the most common designation for military King Airs. The C-12J includes the 6 UD series Beechcraft 1900s built for the U.S. military, as well as other 1900Cs in U.S. military service.
Examples of C-12J aircraft in military service include one used for GPS jamming tests at the 586th Flight Test Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, and three based at the 459th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan. The U.S. Army operates both C-12J and 1900D aircraft along with other C-12 (King Air) aircraft.
King Air ExecLiner
The King Air ExecLiner was a marketing name for a corporate version of the Beechcraft 1900C.
The last 16 Beechcraft 1900D airliners built were sold to Eagle Airways to provide regional services for Air New Zealand. According to Flight International magazine, 419 1900s remained in civilian service in July 2009. As of July 2011, the number in service had increased to 443. These included 137 1900Cs; with major operators being Alpine Air (9), Ameriflight (22) and Pacific Coastal Airlines (6) and just over 50 other airlines operating smaller numbers of the type. There were also 306 1900Ds; major operators included Air Georgian (16), Central Mountain Air (14), Eagle Airways (18), Great Lakes Airlines (31), Gulfstream International Airlines (22), SEARCA (14) Solenta Aviation (6), SonAir (11), Twin Jet (10) Wasaya Airways (6) and Sunwest Aviation (6). Just under 100 other airlines also operated the type in smaller numbers.
Accidents and incidents
- November 23, 1987: A Ryan Air Services 1900 crashed on approach to Homer, AK airport. Flight 103 was fully loaded (all 19 seats occupied; 1437 pounds of cargo) when it took off from Kodiak runway 07. The aircraft lifted off the runway, fell back and accelerated for about another 15 knots before it became airborne. The aircraft was approaching Homer when it was cleared for the localizer/DME approach to runway 3. The crew reported a 2-mile (3.2 km) final 5 minutes later. On short final the wings were seen to rock back and forth; the aircraft then dropped steeply to the ground in a rather flat attitude, struck the airport perimeter fence and slid to a stop on its belly. Probable cause - "the failure of the flight crew to properly supervise the loading of the airplane which resulted in the centre of gravity being displaced to such an aft location that the airplane control was lost when the flaps were lowered for landing."
- May 18, 1990: An Aerolift Philippines 1900C crashed in Manila shortly after take-off, killing all 21 people on board and 4 people on the ground.
- Aug 21, 1990: A ROC Air force 1900C crashed in the Yunlin County at Central Taiwan, killing 18 officers on board.
- December 28, 1991: A Business Express Airlines 1900C crashed during a training flight when the instructor refused to take back the controls when the students became disoriented due to heavily stressing conditions imposed by the instructor, against the company's flight manual. This conclusion was controversial, as an investigation by the Airline Pilots Association showed that there were many indications of catastrophic airframe failure, not due to pilot error.
- January 3, 1992: CommutAir Flight 4821, a 1900C operating for USAir Express flying from Plattsburgh to Saranac Lake, crashed into a wooded mountaintop as it was landing at Adirondack Regional Airport. Of the four people on board (two passengers and two crew), two were killed while the other two sustained serious injuries.
- December 7, 1995: An Air St. Martin 1900D drifted off course and crashed into a mountain in Haiti, killing all 21 people on board.
- November 19, 1996: A United Express 1900C collided on a runway with a Beechcraft King Air at Quincy Regional Airport in Illinois, killing all 14 people on board both aircraft.
- July 30, 1998: A Proteus Airlines 1900 collided with a Cessna 177 over the Baie de Quiberon, killing all 15 people on board both aircraft.
- August 12, 1999: A Regionnair 1900D crashed on approach to Sept-Îles Airport in Quebec due to pilot error; the pilot was killed while three others were injured.
- January 8, 2003: Air Midwest Flight 5481, a 1900D crashed into a hangar just after takeoff from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, killing all 21 people on board.
- August 26, 2003: Colgan Air Flight 9446, a Beech 1900D operated for US Airways Express hit the water shortly after taking off from Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Both pilots died.
- January 28, 2004: A Tassili Airlines B1900D, 7T-VIN was reported executing a missed approach at Ghardia DAUG and according to reports wreckage was found approx 10 km from the airport. Of the three passengers and two crew members, one crew member was killed.
- March 15, 2008: A Wings Aviation 1900D crashed while attempting to land at Obudu, Cross River State, Nigeria killing all 3 crew members.
- May 2, 2008: A South Sudan Air Connection 1900 leased from CEM Air crashed, killing 22 people including Southern Sudan's Minister of Defense.
- November 9, 2009: A Blue Bird Aviation cargo 1900D crashed at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, killing one of the two crew members.
- January 22, 2010: An Alaska Central Express 1900C lost altitude shortly after departure from Sand Point, Alaska and impacted the sea. Both pilots were killed.
- November 5, 2010: A 1900C flying for JS Air (Private) Limited, experienced engine failure and crashed a little after 0715 near Karachi killing 21 on board including 2 crew members.
- September 25, 2011: A 1900D flying for Buddha Air (Nepal) crashed during a return scenic flight from the Himalayas killing 19 on board including 3 crew.
- March 9, 2013: A 1900C flying for Ace Air Cargo (Anchorage Alaska) crashed 20 miles northeast of Dillingham, Alaska killing both crew members.
Specifications (Beechcraft 1900D)
Data from Raytheon: Beechcraft 1900D Passenger Specifications and Performance
- Crew: 1 (2 for airline operations)
- Capacity: 19 passengers
- Length: 57 ft 8 in (17.62 m)
- Wingspan: 57 ft 9 in (17.64 m)
- Height: 15 ft 5 in (4.72 m)
- Empty weight: 10,434 lb (4,732 kg)
- Useful load: 6,356 lb (2,882 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 17,120 lb (7,764 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67D turboprops, 1,279 shaft horsepower (955 kW) each
- Fuel Capacity: 4,484 lb
- Fuel type: Jet A recommended, others usable
- Cruise speed: 280 knots (518 km/h, 322 mph) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
- Range: 707 km with 19 passenger payload (439 mi)
- Ferry range: 2,306 km (1,432 mi)
- Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
- Rate of climb: 2,615 ft/min (797 m/min)
- Rockwell Collins EFIS-84 Electronic Flight Instrument System