Beechcraft Baron Guide and Specs : Is the Legacy Worth the Price?

Introduction

In the mid-1950s, Beechcraft realized no medium-sized aircraft in their line-up between the single-engine Baron 35 Bonanza and the much larger dual-engine Baron 50 Twin Bonanza. They filled this gap in 1958 with the introduction of the short-lived Beechcraft 95 Travel Air. But this model was soon succeeded by the Baron Model 55.

The Baron was created similarly to Dr. Frankenstien’s monster with different parts from different aircraft. Beechcraft took the fuselage from the Bonanza, the empennage from the Debonair, and the tail from the T34-Mentor. The unique traits being the addition of six-cylinder engines and newer, more streamlined engine nacelles.

After its introduction, the Baron quickly became a fan favorite and has been in production for 60 years, during which over 6900 units were produced, with no signs of stopping. During its 60 year history, Beechcraft introduced 15 variants of the Baron, including a military variant and a turboprop variant.

Excluding both the military and turboprop versions of the Baron, three main models were the Model 55, Model 56, and Model 58. These had their sub-variants that came in the form of upgrades and other changes such as forced induction models. Therefore, it’s incorrect to say that the Model 56 and Model 58 are upgraded versions of the Baron 55. But should instead be viewed as “sisters.”

Beechcraft Baron: Variants

Baron Model 55

The first-ever Baron 55 is a four-seater, twin-engine aircraft powered by Continental IO-470, producing 260 hp (190 kW) per engine. With its MTOW of 4,880 lbs (2,213 kg), the engines allowed the aircraft to climb to a service ceiling of 19,300 ft (5882 m).

The Baron 55 was in production from 1961 to 1983, during which Beechcraft made 3,651 models. During its 22 year production, the Baron 55 was updated six times. The first update was the A55, which increased the optional seating capacity by one, allowing consumers to choose from a four-seat or six-seat configuration.

By the time the last update – the E55 – came around, the aircraft was 220 lbs (99 kg) heavier. So Beechcraft swapped out the Continental IO-470-I engine for the higher displacement Continental IO-520-C which produces 285 hp (213 kW). In addition, the fuselage was lengthened and made more aerodynamic, the flap configuration was changed, and a three-blade propeller was added.

Baron Model 56

In contrast to the Model 55 and Model 58, the Model 56 had a very short-lived production cycle, with only 93 ever produced. It was introduced in 1967 and discontinued just four years later. The reason is that it was only ever meant to be a stepping stone for a different model. Similar to how the Travel Air was to the Baron line itself, the Baron 56 was built as an experimental precursor to the Model 60 Duke.

Beechcraft’s Baron 56 is powered by two turbocharged Lycoming TIO-541-E1A4 engines that put out 380 hp (283 kW), has an MTOW of 5,990 lbs (2,717 kg), and reaches its service ceiling at 32,200 ft (9,814 m)

The engines were mated to a Baron C55 chassis, and the aircraft was named the Model 56TC. Beechcraft modified the chassis of the Baron 56 to be more structurally rigid and heavier to compensate for the higher power and torsional forces. The combination of the small body and powerful engines made the Baron 56TC the fastest Beechcraft in 1967, even beating out King Airs sold at the time.

In 1970, the Baron 56TC received its first and last refresh. The Beechcraft gave the new aircraft a new paint job, a newly designed instrument panel, a nose wheel light, and smoother, more aerodynamic beacon and navigation lights. Unfortunately, Beechcraft only produced this model for one year before the Baron 56 was discontinued.

Baron Model 58

Introduced in 1969, the Model 58 is the most iconic in the Beechcraft Baron line and is in production 52 years later. The Model 58 is built on the Model 55 platform but has a longer fuselage and seating for six (pilot included) in a club seat configuration. There was also a choice of powerplant. Owners can choose either a pair of 285 hp (212 kW) Continental IO-520-C or a pair of 300 hp (224 kW) Continental IO-550-C engines.

The Model 58 is hailed for being one of the most comfortable aircraft in its category. So it’s no surprise that it is a favorite for charter operations. It’s also not plagued by excessive cabin noise like most Beechcraft aircraft.

The Model 58 has five variants. The first was introduced in 1976 and is a pressurized version, which was named the Baron 58P. The Baron 58P was powered by two turbocharged Continental TSIO-520-L that produced 375 hp (279 kW). In addition, thanks to forced induction, Beechcraft managed to increase the service ceiling of the Baron 58P to 25,000 ft (7620 m), which users could take advantage of because of the pressurized cabin.

The same year, the Baron Model 58TC was introduced. This model was powered by the same turbocharged engine available in the Baron 58P. However, it was de-tuned to put out only 310 hp (279 kW) and did not have the high altitude capability of the Baron 58P.

2005 saw the release of the Baron G58. The G denotes the use of Garmin G1000 glass avionics systems, one of the most advanced avionics suites on the market. This model is powered by two Continental IO-550-C engines that produce 300 hp (248 kW) and, when paired with the 3-blade McCauley propeller, can reach 202 KCAS (374 kmph). The final variant of the Model 58 is the G58 ISR, a low-cost version of the G58 built exclusively for the Puerto Rico Police department.

SFERMA SF-60 Marquis

While the aircraft is essentially a Baron 58, it does not share the same name. Instead, the SFERMA SF-60 Marquis was Beechcraft’s attempt at fitting two 530 hp Astazou X turboprop engines to the first generation Baron.

T-42A Cochise

Beechcraft produced a military-only version of the Baron B55 to train pilots in instrument flight rules (IFR). The United States Army bought 65 aircraft, while another five were delivered to the Turkish Army. In 1993, the aircraft was transferred to be used by the National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Beechcraft Baron: Specifications

The table below highlights the specifications of the Model E55, Model 56TC, and Model G58.

Exterior Dimensions
  Model E55 Model 56TC Model G58
Length 28 ft (8.53 m) 28 ft (8.53 m) 29 ft 10 in (9.10 m)
Height 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m) 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m) 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Wing Span 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m) 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m) 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
Wing Area N/A N/A 199 sq.ft (18.48 m)
Interior Dimensions
Length 11 ft 9 In (3.58 m) 11 ft 9 In (3.58 m) 12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Width 3 ft 6 In (1.06 m) 3 ft 6 In (1.06 m) 3 ft 6 in (1.06 m)
Height 4 ft 2 In (1.27 m) 4 ft 2 In (1.27 m) 4 ft 2 in (1.27 m)
Maximum Occupants 6 6 6
Weights
Maximum Takeoff Weight 5,100 lbs (2313 kg) 5,990 lbs (2,717 kg) 5,500 lbs (2,495 kg)
Basic Empty Weight 3,236 lbs (1,467 kg) 3,650 lbs (1,655 kg) 4,030 lbs (1,828 kg)
Useful Load 1,864 lbs (845 kg) 2,340 lbs (1,061 kg) 1,494 lbs (678 kg)

Beechcraft Baron: Performance and Flight Characteristics

  Model E55 Model 56TC Model G58
Engine Continental IO-520-C 285 hp (213 kW) Lycoming TIO-541-E1A4 380 hp (283 kW) Continental IO-550-C 300 hp (248 kW)
Fuel Capacity 172 gal (651 l) 142 gal (537 l) 194 gal (734 l)
Max Range 942 nmi (1,745 km) 788 nmi (1,459 km) 1,480 nmi (2741 km)
Service Ceiling 19,300 ft (5882 m) 32,200 ft (9,814 m) 20,688 ft (6,306 m)
Takeoff Distance 1,400 ft (426 m) 1,005 ft (306 m) 2,300 ft (701 m)
Landing Distance 1,467 ft (447 m) 1,285 ft (391 m) 1,300 ft (396 m)
Rate of Climb 1,690 fpm 2,020 fpm 1,735 fpm
Max 200 KCAS (370 kmph) 252 KIAS (467 kmph) 223 KIAS (413 kmph)

Beechcraft is known for creating comfortable aircraft that perform well, and the Baron line embodies this sentiment. The large and lengthy fuselage of the Baron gives its passengers plenty of space to sit comfortably for long journeys, and the powerful engines coupled with large fuel tanks get them there fast and in one go. This is the reason that the Baron is favored for charter flight operations.

The only Baron model that Beechcraft still produces is the G58. The G58 is powered by two Continental IO-550-C, which produce a total of 600 hp (496 kW). The surprising thing is the omission of a turbocharger, which would make the Baron G58 a better-performing aircraft. However, despite the lack of a turbocharger, the Baron has plenty of power.

The Baron is a heavy aircraft, and this transfers over to its flight controls. During rotation, a healthy amount of back pressure is required, and it’s good practice to add a good amount of elevator trim to reduce stick forces. ,In terms of flight characteristics, the Baron is known for being easy aircraft to fly. It responds to control inputs predictably, and owners have said they are fun-to-fly. In addition, there is a consensus that the aileron controls are light and pleasant. However, a few pilots say that the elevator controls are heavy, but a superb trim system mitigates this.

Another critical aspect of controlling any twin-engine aircraft is how well it flies during single-engine operations. Keeping the wings level, heading fixed, and the ball centered is easily accomplished with cruise power. The rudder has enough authority to keep the aircraft flying well even at full power on the single-engine, and the use of a bit of rudder trim makes it so that your foot doesn’t have to be planted to the floor.

Beechcraft Baron: Maintenence

The Beechcraft Baron is a popular airplane, which is helpful because the more aircraft available, the higher the chance that the company still supports it. Even if the company leaves it behind, popular aircraft often have an extensive catalog of aftermarket parts available to them. In the worst-case scenario, there will be plenty of second-hand parts available.

The abundance of parts is only valid for the Model 55 and Model 58, both of which have over 3,000 units produced each. Therefore, replacing parts on either the Model 55 or Model 58 is relatively cheap. The Model 56 is a different story. Only 91 Model 56’s were ever produced, which makes finding parts for it a lot harder. The saving grace is that some parts of the Model 56 are essentially more rigid and heavier pieces of the Model 55. However, damaged engine nacelles and unique parts for the Model 56 will have to be fabricated.

Engine Maintenance

Model 55

The Model 55 has had two different engines installed, depending on the variant. The Baron 55, A55, and B55 models are powered by the naturally aspirated, fuel-injected, six-cylinder Continental IO-470-L. According to OverhaulBids.com, these engines have a TBO of 1500 hours. As a result, overhauling these engines isn’t expensive. All of the IO-470 models cost the same to overhaul, with the average price being $30,000, while restored engines cost $5000 more, for a total of $35,000 more. If you’re willing to spend the money, a brand new engine can be bought directly from Continental for $74,000.

The introduction of the C55 saw a new powerplant, the Continental IO-520-C, which is another naturally aspirated, fuel-injected, six-cylinder engine. The TBO of this engine is 1700 hours, which is an improvement of 200 hours versus the older versions of the Model 55—overhauling or buying restored IO-520-C costs about the same as it would for an IO-470-L. But the price difference emerges when trying to buy a new engine. A brand new IO-520 costs $72,000, which is $2,000 less than an IO-470.

Model 56

The two variants of the shortlived Model 56 are powered by the same engine, a turbocharged, fuel-injected, six-cylinder Lycoming TIO-540-E1B4. These engines have a TBO of 1,800 hours, which is higher than the engines on the Model 55. However, turbocharged engines are generally more expensive because there are many more parts than a naturally-aspirated engine of the same specifications. Additionally, components such as intake and exhaust manifolds, including oil and fuel lines, have to be stronger to withstand the boost produced by the turbo.

More parts on an engine or any mechanical component translate to higher labor and parts costs. This is reflected in the price of overhauling and purchasing engines for the Model 56. The average cost for a factory overhauled engine is $59,000, while a factory rebuilt engine will set you back another $6,000 for a total of $65,000. Finally, splurging on a brand new engine from Lycoming for the Model 56 will cost an eye-watering $95,000.

Model 58

The Model 58 has been powered by the same powerplants over the years. Depending on the configuration, the Model 58 has and is powered by either a Continental IO-520-C or a Continental IO-550-C. Both are naturally aspirated fuel-injected, six-cylinder engines. The only exceptions are the 58P and 58TC, which are powered by the same turbocharged, fuel-injected, six-cylinder Continental TSIO-520-L engines.

Like all naturally aspirated engines, the IO-520s & IO-550s have fewer parts and are less complex than their turbocharge counterpart, the TSIO-520. This is why, like all turbocharged engines, the TSIO-520 costs more to maintain.

The Continental IO-550-C has a TBO of 1,700 hours and would cost roughly $48,000 to $57,000 to overhaul, depending on the shop and the amount of work done. If a factory rebuilt block is what you’re going for, you can have one at around $63,000, but premium customers could want a new factory engine, which can cost approximately $84,000.

The turbocharged TSIO-520-L has to be overhauled every 1,400 hours. A brand new engine from the factory would set you back $94,248, while a factory rebuilt engine will cost as high as $88,000. An overhaul done by an independent shop can cost upwards of $40,000 depending on the number of parts that need to be replaced.

Beechcraft Baron: Insurance

The Beecraft Baron is an easy aircraft to insure as it has an impeccable safety record. The Baron has a much higher safety rating than aircraft in the same category. Currently, Barons which will be utilized for personal use are offered the following insurance quotes:

  • An annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability-only coverage
  • Qualified pilot: $600 – $859 per year
  • Low-time pilot: $780 – $1,250 per year
  • An Annual policy with $1,000,000 in liability-only coverage and $182,000 hull overage
  • Qualified pilot: $6,300 – $11,500 per year
  • Low-time pilot: $8,200 – $13,700 per year

Beechcraft Baron: Price

Among the three model lines of the Baron, only the Model 55 and 58 have aircraft available for purchase. The rarity of the Model 56 makes it nearly impossible to find on for sale.

Model 55 Price

If you were to type “Baron 55 for sale” on Google search, it would immediately show you plenty of them available for purchase. After a bit of research, however, the cheapest available aircraft have 8,000 hours or more on the airframe, so it has to be thoroughly inspected to make sure that they have life in them.

There also don’t seem to be many of the newer Model 55’s for sales, such as the D55 or E55. Instead, most of the aircraft are B55s or older. The average price for a Baron 55 is around $160,000 and the time on the airframes ranges from the sub 3,000s to 8,000s.
Model 58 A fan favorite, Model 58s are plentiful on the market and are priced accordingly. The G58 especially can get expensive depending on the condition of the aircraft. The standard 2021 model year G58 costs around $1,500,000 and comes equipped with the G1000NXi, G275 Electronic Standby, and GMC 707 Autopilot Controller. The engines on the base G58 are the less powerful IO-520-C engines.

Older Baron 58s manufactured in the late ’70s, and early ’80s start at $200,000 and will only be priced higher based on the specification and the condition. For example, the cheapest Baron 58 I could find was manufactured in 1974, has a total time of 7335 hours, and is priced at $135,000. More recent Barons produced in the 2000’s start at around $500,000, while Barons manufactured in the last decade cost nearly $1,000,000.

Regardless of the Model, Barons hold their value well, and this is apparent when you look at the prices these high time aircraft sell for. There is also a significant demand for Barons, and they can be quickly and easily.

Beechcraft Baron: Similar Aircraft

The competitor of the current Beechcraft Baron is the Piper Seneca, and it’s easy to see why. From the get-go, both aircraft look somewhat similar thanks to the twin-engine, triple-blade propeller design. Both also seat the six passengers in the same club seat configuration. Size-wise the two are nearly the same, being within inches apart from each other in almost all dimensions. They also share the same Garmin G1000NXi avionics suite.

The differences arise when the performance comparison begins. The Seneca’s engines are manufactured by Continental and are mated to triple-blade McCauley propellers, but that’s where the similarity ends. It’s powered by the two turbocharged TSIO-360-RB, which put out 220 hp (164 kW), significantly less than the Baron.

The fuel tanks of the Seneca are smaller as well. The total useable fuel is 122 gal ( 462 l), which is 72 gal (272 l) less than the Baron’s 194 gal (734 l) tanks. The smaller fuel tanks meant the Seneca struggles to fight against the Baron when the range is discussed. The Seneca can only fly 826 nm (1,533 km), nearly half of what the Baron flies. The only area in which the Seneca will one-up the Baron is in the service ceiling. Its turbocharged engines ensure that it can continue to climb up to 25,000 ft (7,620 m), which is 4,312 ft (1,314 m).

However, one benefit of falling short in terms of performance is that the Seneca is much cheaper than the Baron. For example, you can have a base model 2021 Piper Seneca V for $1,061,000, around $400,000 less than the base model 2021 Baron G58.

Check out our guide on the most common airplane types that are worth the purchase,

Beechcraft Baron: Clubs and Societies You Can Join

American Bonanza Society

The American Bonanza Society (ABS) is the hallmark club for Beechcraft owners. The club originated in 1967 and has grown immensely. As of 2019, the club has over 9,600 members across the United States and across the world.

Becoming a member of the ABS would entitle you to the following:

Monthly Magazine

This publication provides members with general aviation news, events for Beecraft owners, an advertisement space for selling airplanes, and more importantly, maintenance and technical information updates for your Beechcraft.

Technical Advice and Parts Sourcing

Any member can submit any technical queries they have about their aircraft and can expect an educated answer from a technical advisor. These advisors also help you source parts for your aircraft.

Beechcraft Specific Pilot Training

There are three training programs for pilots who want to get acquainted with or get a refresher on flying specific Beechcraft aircraft, down to the model.

Beechcraft Maintenance Training

The membership offers an online maintenance course that teaches certified mechanics about maintenance procedures on Beechcraft airplanes.

Aircraft Inspection Program

  • A visual inspection from Beechcraft Service Clinic Inspectors
  • Online Mechanic and Flight Instructor Training
  • Aircraft Insurance Program

Beechcraft Baron: Where to Find Replacement Parts

As previously mentioned, an excellent resource for finding parts for your Baron is the American Bonanza Society. But this isn’t the only one out there. For brand new engine parts, the first choice should be the engine manufacturer. The Continental website provides you with a wide array of parts for replacement. Owners can also go on to Textron’s (Beechcraft’s parent company) website and look for Beechcraft parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is Forced Induction?

Answer: The process of delivering compressed, denser air to a combustion engine is referred to as forced induction. The air is run through a compressor connected to the intake manifold of the engine to create a more efficient fuel burn which will eventually produce more power.

In airplane engines, turbochargers are popularly used to achieve forced induction. The turbocharger is connected to both the exhaust and intake manifolds of the engine. It uses spent exhaust gases to run the compressor, which draws in and compresses clean air to deliver to the engine.

Question: What is the TBO of an Engine?

Answer: TBO stands for Time Before Overhaul and is the number of hours or amount of time that the engine manufacturer recommends the engine be overhauled. This means the engine will be taken apart, inspected, cleaned, and replaced by worn or failed parts. The overhaul process helps extend the life of the engine and ensures safe operation.

Further Read:

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