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michal

Starships Headed to Slaughter

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SPECIAL REPORT!Starships Headed to SlaughterThe Beech Starship fleet is being destroyed at the behest of its manufacturer Raytheon, which owns 40 of the 50 production airplanes built between 1988 and 1995. In recent weeks Starships have been flown to Pinal Air Park in Marana, Ariz., near Tucson, and corralled at Evergreen Air Center's heavy maintenance facility, which at press time had destroyed six airplanes by sawing them up and burning the carbon-fiber sections in an incinerator. The goal is to complete the destruction of the airplanes under Raytheon control by year-end. Asked why, a company spokesman said, "The costs of supporting the fleet are prohibitive. There are many parts on the Starship that are unique to that aircraft. We have a backlog of parts, and we will part out those aircraft that are being decommissioned to add to that backlog." He also asserted that, with such a small number of in-service airplanes, retrofitting the fleet for new requirements such as RVSM is a prohibitively expensive proposition. "The Starship was a good aircraft that unfortunately didn't meet market acceptance," the Raytheon Aircraft spokesman said. Looking on the positive side, the spokesman noted that the twin-turboprop pusher served as a "springboard for the knowledge and experience with composites that have taken us to the Premier I and Horizon." A friend of mine who's a TBM700 owner wrote to me:BILL,I flew into Pinal yesterday and was stunned to see so many Starships on the ramp. A very sad sight...John Hayessn 116BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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Just what it says, Raytheon/Beech are no longer going to support the fleet. Since they own all but 10 of 'em, it makes economic sense to them to simply destroy them, after cannibalizing parts.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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is there a press release on this? I've never known any manufacturer to simply round up and destroy their own aircraft, even if they aren't economically viable.

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Wow, I live in Tucson - wonder if I could drive up there and see em before they're gone??Ryan

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>is there a press release on this? I've never known any>manufacturer to simply round up and destroy their own>aircraft, even if they aren't economically viable.I've not been able to confirm - or refute - the 'press release' that I received, but I did find this website that claims that the story is false. It does agree that the entire fleet is in the process of being relocated to Evergreen Aviation for "storage."Of course, the page indicates that it was last updated on 4/22/03, so things may have changed since then...http://www.bobscherer.com/Pages/Starships%...0to%20NC-10.htmBillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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>is there a press release on this? I've never known any>manufacturer to simply round up and destroy their own>aircraft, even if they aren't economically viable.There has been mention in the aviation press several times. "Flight International" http://www.flightinternational.com/fi_fram...est/lt_news.asphas an article about it, but requires a subscription to read the article.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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>Wow, I live in Tucson - wonder if I could drive up there and>see em before they're gone??Ryan,Before you go, you might want to read this first person report from the field (quoted by permission):"Bill,I was at Evergreen last week and the folks out there tell me that the Starships will be parted out and then be towed out to the "chopping block" where they will be destroyed. Although I didn't get an exact count, it looks like there are 30-40 Starships sitting on the ramp. No photographs are allowed on the ramp; but, I was told that they can't do anything about it if you take pictures from inside your plane. I am hoping to have time for another run over there before the Starships disappear to get some photographs. BTW: The Evergreen folks also mentioned that Raytheon is destroying Beech 1900's as well. There are a few parked next to the Starship line and one or two at the chopping block. I couldn't determine if Raytheon is trying to remove the 1900 from service."Here is more from another owner/friend:"There was a good article on this, plus an editorial commentary in Flight International.There are ten Starships left with Private Owners. There are big liability problems. Raytheon is trying to buy them back for about $2.7M each (they cost $4.6M new) Problems: Avionics, liability etc. Starship was supposed to replace King Air, but turned out overweight, over thirsty, more expensive and slower than hoped. 50 built. Compared with almost 6,000 King Air. Similar scenario to Concorde..!"Here is one more reply from another friend:"Hi Bill,Several of the Aviation print and internet sites have confirmed the Starships phaseout by Beech.FYI, in 1983, after urging Beech to build a Single Engine turboprop for several years, I was given the opportunity to purchase thefirst "Lightning" a single PT6A-42 powered modified P-Baron, or the first Starship. Both were being developed at the same time.I put a deposit on the Lightning @ $750,000. As the project developed, the 190 Gallons fuel of the P-Baron was felt to be inadequate. This meant new wings to hold more fuel. The 3.9 psi pressure differential was also found inadequate as the new Malibu had 5.5 psi and turbines need higher altitudes for fuel efficiency. Beech required 4X safety factor and the square sectionBaron/Bonanza fuselage was never built to be pressurized. Just over 16 psi it blew up and a new (rounded) fuselage was now required.After several years of waiting, I got a call from Beechcraft. The costs of development for the Lightning were rising fast, the customer price had risen to over $1M and "no one would spend that much for a single engine airplane" they concluded.With their R&D plate overflowing, they killed the Lightning (and gave the market to Mooney/Socata which the TBM700 filled successfully.)Beech calculated that the Starship would replace the King-Air. It's performance never reached expectations - It was heavier, slower, noisier and the filament wound composite construction (very expensive) created huge problems with RFI shielding and adequate grounding. After the initial customer rush to be the first kid on the block with the new gorgeous toy, sales were dismal while customer demand for King-Airs continued.They obviously killed the wrong airplane!"BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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Why is destroying them a better option for Beech than just selling them at a loss?

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>Why is destroying them a better option for Beech than just>selling them at a loss?There are a host of reasons why this is so. Consider the issue of upgrading the fleet to be RVSM certified, the ongoing expense of keeping the parts inventory available, the costs of maintaining the a/c's certifications up to date, for starters. Then add in the liability issues in today's litigious atmosphere. It's a lose-lose proposition for Raytheon, and they've got better things to do with their capital than to continue flushing it down the crapper.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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Aviation Week has an article on the destruction of the Starship in this weeks issue. They have already destroyed six. As has already been stated, the main reason is operating cost.I really like the Starship for it's uniqueness, but uniqueness doesn't pay the bills, unless someone wants to buy a Starship for alot more than what they have been earning or are worth.Hopefully, some of them will be saved for museums. It would be nice if they donated some to Oshkosh and the Smithsonian and maybe the Seattle Museum of Flight.

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Fokker/VFW did it with the VFW 614 in the 1970s.Only 4 were left, 3 in German AF service and 1 flying testbed owned by a university.

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I work for Raytheon and can verify the correctness of the story - Starships are indeed headed for destruction. Some company in Arizona that operates a very high-temperature incinerator will actually burn up all the fuselages. Avionics, gear have been removed for possible reuse.Michael J.http://www.reality-xp.com/community/nr/rsc/rxp-higher.jpg

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