Unlike the C310, Beechcraft’s Baron was not an entirely original design, being a “derivative of the Travel Air” (White 6). Within a decade of the Baron’s original release, Beechcraft introduced the “Model 58… based on the six-seat Model 36 Bonanza fuselage” (White 6). According to Dianne White, after the release of the Model 58, “the Baron became the standard to beat for light twins” (6). Through the years, Beechcraft has released several variants of the Baron. One of the biggest advancements to the Baron series came in the early 80’s as Dianne White explains, “In 1984, the Baron was fitted with 300-hp Continental IO-550-C engines” (6).
With the 90’s and 2000’s came additional improvements, “such as better noise dampening, door seals and one-piece inboard and outboard landing gear doors” (White 6). Modern day Baron’s are superb examples of the Beechcraft history of excellence, offering “Garmin’s all-glass G1000” as well as the “GFC 700 flight control system” (White 6). For a staggering $1. 3 million, one can take ownership of a brand new Baron G58 (White 11). Even though the Baron is piston powered, it boasts a number of attractive qualities.
Though environmental issues such as density altitude and wind factor have to be taken into account, the Baron’s maximum range with full fuel and maximum allowable payload is approximately 1,559 NM (hawkerbeechcraft. com). If less fuel is taken on and 4 average weight passengers are carried, the Baron averages 1,036 NM which is formidable for a plane of its size (hawkerbeechcraft. com). According to hawkerbeechcraft. com, the maximum cruise speed is 202 KIAS which Dianne White confirms writing, “The Baron’s sweet spot is at 12,000 feet where it will fly 200 kts burning 34 to 36 GPH total” (8).
Four passengers plus one pilot can fit comfortably within the Baron, and an additional fifth seat can be ordered (hawkerbeechcraft. com). Range is given to the G58 by its acceptable fuel consumption combined with its capability to carry 194 gallons of useable fuel, weight allowing of course (hawkerbeechcraft. com). Maximum gross takeoff weight for the Baron is 5,500 lbs with a maximum useful load of 1,504 lbs (hawkerbeechcraft. com). If one does the math, 194 gallons of fuel at 6 lbs per gallon gives you 1,164 lbs leaving only 340 lbs to spare in the event the Baron is full of fuel.
According to Part 61. 31 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, type ratings are required for aircraft that exceed 12,500 lbs gross weight, are turbojet powered, or are otherwise deemed by the FAA to need one. The Beechcraft Baron fails to fall under any of these criteria therefore a type rating is not required to pilot the Baron. Simply a multi-engine certificate with a high performance write off is needed to account for the twin 300 horsepower engines, as well as a complex endorsement.
Beechcraft’s Baron supports very competitive statistics, however the G58 is not the only plane fighting for consumer dollars. Beechcraft originally designed the Baron to compete with the Cessna 310 in the late 50’s and began production in the 1960’s (White 6). This competition only lasted a couple of decades however. In 1980, Cessna stopped production of the C310 (airliners. net). According to Dianne White, “Customers considering a Baron are most likely also considering a Piper Mirage, Meridian or a… TBM 850” (12). A major advantage that is carried by the G58 is the safety multiple engines.
Both the TBM as well as the Meridian are turbo-prop aircraft making the Baron cheaper to operate due to the piston engines (White 12). A major disadvantage the Baron has in comparison to the three are a lack of pressurization or a built in O2 system (White 12). By far, the Baron’s closest competitor in today’s market could be the Piper Seneca which boasts statistics that are only slightly less impressive than the Baron for nearly $400,000 cheaper (piper. com). Beechcraft has designed the Baron not just for personal use, but business use (hawkerbeechcraft. om). In today’s age of fancy high dollar business jet aircraft, the Baron might actually be surprisingly useful. Consider the position of a hypothetical small petroleum company.