On 28 August 1958 Beech flew the prototype of the new Beech Model 65
Queen Air business aircraft. Designed to meet the requirements of what the company considered to be a growing market, this seven/nine-seat low-wing monoplane had retractable tricycle landing gear, and was powered by two 254kW Avco Lycoming IGSO-480-A1B6 flat-six engines. Full IFR instrumentation was standard, and optionally available equipment, such as an autopilot, and navigation and weather-avoidance radar, could provide the Queen Air with the capability of a contemporary airliner. In the following January Beech flew the first of three Model 65s that were to be used by the US Army for evaluation. This resulted in orders totalling 71 of these aircraft, under the designation L-23F Semi-nole, an identification chosen because of the general similarity between the Twin Bonanza and Model 65 Queen Air, the latter differing primarily by its deeper section fuselage and more powerful engines. In 1962 the L-23F was rede-signated U-8F, and some modified at a later date to provide improved interior accommodation became U-8Gs. A number of commercial Queen Airs were
acquired by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, for use in navigation trainer and transport roles, and others went to the air forces of Uruguay and Venezuela. An improved Model A65 Queen Air, introduced at a later date, had swept vertical tail surfaces and greater fuel capacity; and a version with a high-density seating arrangement for a crew of one or two, with 10 or nine passengers respectively, was known as the Queen Airliner. A Model 65 Queen Air was provided with two 373kW Pratt & Whitney PT6A-6 turboprop engines. Identified initially by the company as the Model 65-90T Queen Air, this was evaluated by the US Army, from 17 March 1964, as the NU-8F.
Expansion of the Queen Air line came on 22 June 1961 with a first flight of the Model 80 Queen Air. This had more powerful engines (283kW), but the Queen Air A80, introduced in January 1964, had increased wing span that allowed for operation at a higher gross weight. Final version was the Queen Air B80, incorporating a number of design and equipment improvements, and 11-seat Queen Airliners were available for each of these basic versions. A pressurised version of the
Model 80 was introduced in August 1965: generally similar to the Queen Air B80, it differed by having structural modification of the fuselage to cater for pressurisation, and by the incorporation of circular cabin windows. Identified as the Model 88 Queen Air, it was taken out of production during 1969 after 45 had been built.
A third member of the Queen Air family was introduced in 1968. Known as the Model 70 Queen Air, this was basically an A65 with the increased span
wing of the B80.
Manufacture of the Models 65 and 70 was terminated at the end of 1971, at which time production figures totalled 404 (including U-8Fs) and 42 respectively. Production of the Model 80 Queen Airs continued until the end of 1978, at which time approximately 510 had been built.
| MODEL||Model B80 Queen Air|
| ENGINE||2 x Avco Lycoming IGSO-540-A1D supercharged flat-six piston engines, 283kW|
| Take-off weight||3992 kg||8801 lb|
| Loaded weight||2394 kg||5278 lb|
| Wingspan||15.32 m||50 ft 3 in|
| Length||10.82 m||36 ft 6 in|
| Height||4.33 m||14 ft 2 in|
| Wing area||27.3 m2||293.85 sq ft|
| Max. speed||400 km/h||249 mph|
| Cruise speed||294 km/h||183 mph|
| Ceiling||8170 m||26800 ft|
| Range||2441 km||1517 miles|
|A three-view drawing (1184 x 676)|
I flew all of the U-8 models (D,G & F) in the active Army and later in the ARNG. The Excalibur conversion made the airplane a lot more reliable and easier to maintain. It also increased its TAS from 165 to 181; however, it decreased its single engine ceiling down to around 5,000 feet.
|Paul L Cook, 27.06.2015|
TO ROBERTO GOMEZ:
I am considering 135 op in Az. Would you recommend an Excalibur or 2? please call 623 476 3713
|Roberto Gomez, 12.03.2015|
I did own five of this great planes, 65/80 and 88, great planes to fly, my favorite one, the one I own today, the most beautiful 1967 A65 Excalibur...
|berkane redda, 12.02.2015|
i worked on this aircraft in 1985 to 1990 (air algerie).the landing gear is verryb hard ,the ringing engine spark plug ignition is a problem.have a good day.
|pat wright, 28.03.2013|
to marvin flicker I used to crew that aircraft @ ft Campbelly ky in the late 70 tail# 623845 She still flew then
|scott Boyd, 26.09.2012|
I flew pretty much all the King Airs, except the 100 with Garretts but never flew the Queen Air. The same engines were used by Aero Commander and always had more problems then they were worth.
The fuselage was pretty much a the same as the model 18 and the outer wings the same as the Bonanza and Travelair/Baron. The Twin Bonanza was a widened Bonanza fuselage and the Queen Air a Beach 18 fuselage with the same center section and a longer nose.
Landing gear changed cosmetically but was pretty much the same as the 18 and remains that way today.
With the pt-6 the King Air finally got it all together, the right engine and the right airframe. geared piston engines just never made the grade, from the Cessna 175 to the Queen Air and Aero Commanders they just required to much attention.
|Marvin Ficklin, 26.09.2012|
Took delivery of U8F, tail # 623845, summer of 1962 in Panama. Flew the bird throughout most of Central and South America. A great, safe, reliable aircraft and a true joy to fly
|Don Elliott, 20.10.2010|
I flew in all kinds of weather a BE65/65 (N216p )from new for 1325 hours with an engine's change @ 1200 hours.
She never let me down and I had a true love affair with her. I delivered her to Hangar One in Atlanta, GA for her new owner to pick up. When I got out of her for the last time, I never looked back for I knew I would break down crying. I will never forget her. Don't know what ever happened to her as the N number now shows up on an RV6?
|Ken Cooksey, 27.08.2010|
The BE-65 was very underpowered. I lost the right engine on a flight with only two of us on board. We had a brief case each and about 180 gallons of fuel at the time of the engine failure. Got the prop feathered and the A/C trimmed out. Had to increase power to M.E.T.O in order to maintain altitude,3500 feet. We limped in to Memphis. I was really glad to get the old girl on the ground. A cylinder departed the case and punched a hole in the outboard side of the cowling. Lots of oil on the cowling.
|Bob MacGregor, 30.04.2010|
The Army National Guard system had many of the U-8F Excal. The Excalibur Conversion was 2 new Lycoming IO 720 400 HP 8 cylinder engines, new props, new instrument panel, and higher gross weight. The performance of this aircraft was greatly improved with this conversion.
|John Graham, 07.08.2009|
The Queen Air was not just similar in design to the Twin Bonanza, it was based on/adapted from the B-50. Late-model B-50s had airstair doors, the same engines, radar, and the same gear as model 65s. Still today the King Air, Queen Air, and Merlin II have the landing gear that was originally fitted to the B-50.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?