July Aircraft of the Month: Model 2000 Starship

A radical and bold departure from the King Air line of turboprop aircraft, the Beech Model 2000 Starship was envisioned as a new breed of aircraft intended to pave the way for a whole new generation of sleek, new business aircraft. With an 85 percent scale flying prototype built and tested in 1983, the Starship featured a tandem wing design consisting of a large aft main wing with vertical tip-sails and a smaller, variable geometry forward wing. The airframe utilized advanced composites consisting primarily of graphite / epoxy construction. Adding to the unique layout of the aircraft were two, 1,200 SHP Pratt & Whitney PT-6 pusher style engines that were set very closely together at the rear of the aircraft in order to reduce the engine-out adverse yaw that is common to conventional twin engine aircraft. Spectacular in appearance, the Starship’s performance / utility was somewhat compromised by certification requirements to the extent that production seating capacity was reduced from 8 to 6 passengers, selling price was increased to the point that a person could buy a jet, and production was terminated at close to 50 aircraft built.