First GE-powered King Air Earns 135 Air Charter Certification

April 9, 2013 _ Manitowoc, WI — The first King Air powered by GE’s new H80 turboprop engines has entered FAA 135 Air Charter service. The aircraft, a King Air C90 operated by Lakeshore Aviation in Manitowoc, WI, is the first to be certified with a recently-approved STC using the new 800-shp engines built by GE Aviation in their brand new manufacturing facilities in Prague, Czech Republic.

Lakeshore Aviation president, Curt Drumm, complimented the cooperative effort between his staff, the Milwaukee FAA Flight Standards office, GE Aviation and Smyrna Air Center, who completed all the installation work and holds the STC. “Everyone worked together very closely to make sure the work was done properly, we had all documentation in place, and the engine installation worked as intended,” noted Drumm. “The plane has run flawlessly since we took delivery.”

The 800-shp H80 turboprop engine combines the elegant, robust design of the M601 engine with GE's 3-D aerodynamic design techniques and advanced materials to create a more powerful, fuel-efficient, durable engine with no recurrent fuel nozzle inspections and no hot section inspection. The H80 engine will feature an extended service life of 3,600 flight-hours or 6,600 cycles between overhauls. It will provide the option of a single- or dual-acting governor, allowing customers to have flexibility in propeller selection.

Greg Ryan, GE Aviation Sales Director noted, “GE has parts in the US and Canada at more than ten locations and a full network to support our customers worldwide with service, support and parts.  We were very proactive on this ensuring the network was in place before the first deliveries entered service. Having flown King Airs for years, I'm excited to see this program take off.”

The King Air’s performance is greatly improved with the powerful engines.

Cruise speeds are increased to over 260 KTAS and climb performance is “phenomenal,” in Drumm’s words. “We can hold well over 1000 FPM climb rate up to the mid 20’s, which reduces our block time and saves fuel,” he noted. “I can get my passengers to their destination quicker and save money on fuel at the same time.” Drumm also noted the Avia 5-bladed props reduced the interior cabin noise level, adding to passenger comfort.

Smyrna Air Center, located in the Nashville, TN area, did all the work in their 100,000 square foot maintenance facility. “They have a very knowledgeable, dedicated staff,” noted Drumm. In addition to the engine upgrade, the aircraft underwent a complete battery of inspections and AD compliance. All life and time limited inspections were complied with and any necessary repairs were made.

Smyrna’s Business Development Director, Dan Sigl, noted they put a lot of effort into this project to make it the best King Air they could. “We invested a lot of time in this…it’s really a historic moment,” Sigl said. Smyrna offers engine upgrades for current King Air operators as well as completely restored aircraft like the one recently put in service. “We can offer you a completely rebuilt King Air with the new engines at a fraction of the price of a new aircraft,” Sigl commented.

The plane also received a complete new glass cockpit centered on dual Garmin G600 flight displays. They integrate with Garmin’s new GTN-750 GPS navigator and a GNS-530. The aircraft also features Garmin’s new GWX-70 digital radar, XM weather, a Strikefinder and ADS-B weather. Ryan TCAD, TIS and ADS-B provide complete traffic awareness for the flight crew. All operations are coupled to an S-Tec 65 autopilot allowing complete altitude preselect, rate of climb, GPSS and approach coupling. “It’s really a joy to fly,” noted Drumm, who also serves as Lakeshore Aviation’s chief pilot.

Passengers are also in for a treat with a new, luxurious, dark leather interior, stunning rosewood cabinetry and trim, and new carpet and headliners.

A stylish new paint job rounds out the appearance. “With shiny spinners and those big 5-bladed props, it really turns heads when we pull up on the ramp. The passengers love it,” noted Drumm.

For more information on the GE H80 King Air engine conversion, please contact: 

Smyrna Air Center at GE Aviation at

Lakeshore Aviation at