Beechcraft Corporation Anticipates Strong Growth for the Special Mission Market

PARIS (June 18, 2013) – Beechcraft Corporation said today during the Paris Air Show that it is expecting strong growth in the special mission aviation market over the next few years. It estimates that around one fifth of the 6,100 plus King Airs in operation today are currently in use for special mission operations such as aerial surveillance, air ambulance, flight inspection and utility transport.

The aviation manufacturer says that much of the growth in the special mission market in the past five years has come from outside of North America. Between 2008 and 2012, the international markets accounted for nearly 65 percent of its special mission sales.


Percentage of Beechcraft special mission sales between 2008 and 2012

U.S. + Canada




Middle East and Africa


Asia Pacific


Latin America


When looking at the missions of Beechcraft’s special mission aircraft deliveries in the past five years, the most common is aerial surveillance (36 percent), followed by trainer aircraft (19 percent) and then air ambulance (17 percent).

“Beechcraft’s special mission offerings encompass a wide range of capabilities,” said Dan Keady, senior vice president, Special Missions. “Our King Airs, for example, are used around the globe for a range of services including air ambulance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), maritime patrol and pilot training. Furthermore, the market for many of our special mission offerings are continuing to grow as sensors become smaller, lighter, more capable and more affordable.”

Beechcraft says the following factors are fuelling demand for special mission aircraft configurations:

  • Advances in technology mean that smaller aircraft types can be used for special mission purposes. For example, Beechcraft has seen an increase in sales of its Baron and Bonanza models for use in special missions. The company recently introduced and delivered the first Baron G58 with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
  • As part of corporate social responsibility efforts, more corporations are seeking out business aircraft that can be utilized in multiple roles. For example, King Airs utilized for corporate transport can also be converted to air ambulance configurations.
  • As air travel continues to grow in popularity, Beechcraft expects to see increased demand for air calibration/flight inspection aircraft. Over the past five years, the Asia/Pacific region has accounted for 29 percent of Beechcraft’s sales in this area.
  • Beechcraft expects to see increased demand for inspection and ISR purposes, especially in Africa and Latin America, as countries increasingly look to secure their borders – both on land and at sea. 

About Beechcraft Corporation

Beechcraft Corporation designs, builds and supports versatile and globally renowned aircraft, including the King Air turboprops, piston-engine Baron and Bonanza, and the T-6 trainer and AT-6 light attack military aircraft. Its 5,400 highly skilled employees are focused on continuously improving the company’s products and services which are sold to individuals, businesses and governments worldwide. In business since 1932, Beechcraft has built more than 54,000 aircraft and more than 36,000 continue flying today. It leads the industry with a global network of more than 90 factory-owned and authorized service centers. The company’s headquarters and major manufacturing facilities are located in Wichita, Kan. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @Beechcraft.