The Beechcraft Starship is a twin turboprop general aviation aircraft. In 1980 Beech began developing the Starship to cement its position as the dominant force in the turboprop market, having already wrested this title with its King Air family. With oil shortages and recession in recent headlines, turboprops promised fuel and cost efficiency. And by using composite construction the plane could be lighter, faster and even more fuel efficient.
BOLD & DARING DESIGN
The Starship continues to be one of the most technologically advanced aircraft of its kind. Designed by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites, it features a variable sweep forward wing, two rear mounted pusher turboprop engines that provide a quiet, jet-like smooth ride, digital avionics, and an all glass cockpit. It was also the first all-composite business class aircraft ever built. The first concept plane flew in 1983, but the full size aircraft itself experienced costly and time consuming design changes, production delays and other issues that kept it grounded until 1986. Between 1988 and 1995, only 53 Starships were built.
In spite of its futuristic, beautiful design, it was a financial failure. Its production costs led to a high sticker price, so very few were sold. Beechcraft’s parent corp Raytheon grounded the fleet and recalled them all. All but a handful were scrapped at Marana. A couple are still privately flown and maintained, and an additional few are displayed in museums.