Beech Model 55 / 56 / 58 Baron


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Beech Model 55 / 56 / 58 Baron

The 'leap-year' Beech Model 95-55 Baron, first flown on 29 February 1960, was developed from the earlier Modet 95 Travel Air. It differed primarily in having more powerful engines, but also in design refinements that included swept vertical tail surfaces, and improved all-weather capability. Deliveries began in November 1960, and ready acceptance of this new twin-engined four/five-seat aircraft resulted in further improvement and development of the type. The Model B55, introduced in 1963, had four-seat and optional five/six-seat accommodation, and in 1965 an additional Model C55 was made available with more powerful 213kW Continental IO-520-C engines. The Model C55 incorporated a number of other improvements, including increased tailplane span and an extended nose baggage compartment, and was developed later as a separate Baron model distinct from the B55.

A few months before the introduction of the C55, the US Army announced that the Model 95-B55 had been chosen for military service as an instrument trainer, which was ordered in an initial quantity of 55 under the designation T-42A Cochise. Ten more were procured for US Army service plus, in 1971, five for delivery to the Turkish army under the Military Assistance Program. By 1984, production of civil and military 95-B55 Barons was in excess of 2,400 and 1,201 examples of the Model E55 (formerly C/D55) had been delivered when production ended.

In September 1967 deliveries began of a new Model 56TC Baron. This introduced turbocharged power, in the form of two 283kW Avco Lycoming TIO-541-E1B4W engines, providing much improved performance. Air-conditioning was available as an option, Beech claiming this to be the first time that such a system had been offered on a lightweight twin. However, the higher cost of this version of the Baron attracted only 93 sales, and production ended in December 1971.

Before that date the range was extended when, in late 1969, Beech introduced the larger Model 58 Baron. First flown in June of that year, it had the fuselage lengthened by 0.25m to provide a more spacious cabin, and related to this was an extension of the wheelbase. Double doors on the starboard side of the fuselage gave easy access to baggage/cargo space behind the rear seats, and powerplant consisted of two engines as installed in the Model E55. Ready acceptance of this improved Baron, with delivery figures that have averaged about two per week for more than 12 years, resulted in the introduction of a pressurised Model 58P, with first deliveries in late 1975. It was something of a composite airframe, combining Model 95-B55 wings. Model 58 tail unit, a strengthened Model 58 fuselage to cater for pressurisation, and main landing gear units as developed for the Model 60 Duke. Power was provided by two Continental turbo-charged engines, currently TSIO-520-WB units with propeller synchrophasers as standard. The most recent addition to the range came with initial deliveries in June 1976 of the Model 58TC which, apart from being unpressurised, is generally similar to its immediate predecessor, and retains its turbo-charged powerplant.

The Baron has proved to be a popular twin, and by January 1989 2,182 Model 58s had been delivered. In addition to these Beech production Barons, at least two turboprop conversions have been developed by other constructors. These include the SFERMA Marquis, produced in small numbers in France, and combining Beech-built Baron airframes with 328kW Turbomeca Astazou engines; and the American Jet Industries Turbo Star Baron powered by two 298kW Allison 250-B17 turboprops.

Beech Model 55 / 56 / 58 Baron

 MODELModel 58P Baron
 ENGINE2 x Continental TSIO-520-WB turbocharged flat-six piston engines, 242kW
  Take-off weight2812 kg6199 lb
  Loaded weight1822 kg4017 lb
  Wingspan11.53 m38 ft 10 in
  Length9.12 m30 ft 11 in
  Height2.79 m9 ft 2 in
  Wing area18.51 m2199.24 sq ft
  Max. speed483 km/h300 mph
  Cruise speed375 km/h233 mph
  Ceiling7620 m25000 ft
  Range2277 km1415 miles

Joe Johnson, e-mail, 05.01.2014 05:00

Had 3 Barons. An E55 n285pt, a 58p n6404z and a B55 n184hp. All were very nice flying aircraft. Enjoyed the Beach quality.


Scott Boyd, e-mail, 13.09.2011 10:37

It was mentioned even win the first sentence. The Travelair was a basic twin version of a Bonanza, the Baron was a major leap in performance with the bigger engines, though generally not a lot of differences beyond cosmetics, the swept tail probably had more adverse effects, but it looked good. The Apache and Aztec are another example, enough changes to justify a new name but still pretty much the same as the twin Stinson.

The 310 and 320 from Cessna is again another, minor changes and turbocharged engines but pretty much the same airplane. The 340 while it looked different was also pretty much a 310 in most respects, I used to fly both on a daily basis.

I flew the Baron with the Duke engines a few times, I don't remember the model number off the top of my head, a B-55E or something, too many letters were used. Since I didn't have to pay for the gas and had to get the owner up to speed for his insurance it was a lot of fun and I got to go pretty much all over the country.

Just like the Bonanza I never felt that comfortable in the cockpit, the rudder pedals were too close, and you had to sit more erect.

The King Air, from #12 to the 300 were a different story, probably the most comfortable, easy to fly and manage aircraft I have flown. The first time I flew it it was like I had flown it for years. Starting the PT-6 required attention but still much easier then a fuel injected piston engine to get started.


Tom Dillon, e-mail, 13.09.2011 04:22

Why is the Beech Travelair not mentioned ?


Bob Baker, e-mail, 11.12.2010 23:44

I have owned my 1981 BE58 since 1994 and have loved every minute of it. New Garmin panel and EX500 MFD along with paint and interior in 2004 since have added WAAS and satellite radar to go along with 3 color Bendix and WX1000 stormscope. You might say I am paranoid about weather. Whoever was responsible of the AD on switches should be shot, hanged, skinned, and left for the vultures!!!


H.L. (Duke ) Abernathy, e-mail, 21.11.2010 20:00

I was a little disappointed that you left out the Travelair. I owned a '61 (N9981R), and thought it was the sweetest light twin ever. Handled like a J-3, and was pretty fast for a couple of stingy Lyc O-360's. Single engine performance, outstanding, with little or no correction. Beechcraft airplanes in general,though not reccommended for low-time pilots with little-or-no common sense, are the easiest flying aircraft on the market. This is not the opinion of a greenhorn,(28,000 hrs). In my opinion, there's more engineering in the landing gear alone on a Beech than the entire airframe on most other brands, and I have owned several, and flown many more.


Bob Leonard, e-mail, 27.10.2010 10:03

We operated three BE-58 Barons throughout southern Africa. Very smooth controls, fast, with a strong landing gear. Went into rough-rolling sandy and gravel strips. A good workhorse. Interior a bit tight. The emergency landing gear handle is placed so the pilot can hardly turn it. My passenger turned the handle when I lost my electric gear motor. It takes about 50 turns to get the gear down and locked. But, it worked as advertised!


al alejandria, e-mail, 07.01.2008 07:36

I am looking for a mechanical part, the one that makes the props to feather, and my mechanic gave me a pn# 203-01-10.
He said it is a diaphragm, and I find it hard to find. Would you know where?



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