The Beechcraft King Air 200 and Cessna 441, or Beechcraft Super King Air and Cessna Conquest II, as they are commonly known, are both twin-engine, turboprop, fixed-wing aircraft with retractable gear. However, the similarities don’t end there, so the aviation community pits these two aircraft against one another.
The Cessna Conquest II is far less popular than the King Air, primarily because the latter is still being produced. Still, it has also undergone many iterations where the basic airframe is the only common factor.
To make this a fair comparison, only the Super King Air – specifically early the Model 200s – will be used for this comparison guide. The Super King Air Model 200 was designed and produced during the same period as the Conquest II, making it nearly a direct competitor. Keep reading this Cessna Conquest vs Beechcraft King Air for more!
The Beechcraft Super King Air and Cessna Conquest II were designed and produced between the late 1970s and mid-1980s. Both these aircraft mainly attract “move up” buyers, customers who have smaller twin-engine piston aircraft and are looking to trade for bigger and better things.
The Super King Air and Conquest II are considered entry-level twin-engine turboprop aircraft because of their size and performance. However, these aircraft are versatile and have a wide range of uses. Even though they are often used for private flying, many customers use these aircraft for charter and commercial operations. In addition, aircraft in this particular category are usually converted into air ambulances.
What are the Main Differences Between the Beechcraft King Air 200 and Cessna 441 Conquest II
The King Air is much longer and has a taller cabin than the Conquest II, which gives a more spacious cabin.
The larger cabin of the King Air allows it to carry more passengers than the Conquest II. The latter can hold 15, while the former has a maximum occupancy of 10.
Although the King Air is bigger and has more space, the Conquest II can carry a heavier payload.
The King Air produces 850 shp (634 kW) compared to the Conquest II’s 636 shp (474 kW).
The King Air would seem to be in this category because it’s larger and has more powerful engines. But the Conquest outperforms the King Air in both range and speed.
The Cessna 441 Conquest II currently retails for between $1.5 to $1.6 million, while an operator can have a Super King Air 200 produced in 1974 for $600,000, and 1981 models are sold for an average of $800,000.
The table below contains an in-depth comparison of the specifications between the two aircraft. Unfortunately, the Super King Air 200 was quickly replaced by the B200.
|Model||Beechcraft Model 200||Cessna 441|
|Length||43 ft 10 in (13.36 m)||39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)|
|Height||14 ft 9 in (4.50 m)||13 ft 2 in (4.01 m)|
|Wingspan||54 ft 6 in (16.61 m)||49 ft 4 in (15.04 m)|
|Wing Area||304 ft² (28.2 m²)||n/a|
|Airfoil (Root: Tip)||n/a||NACA 23018: NACA 23019|
|Fuselage Diameter||n/a||5.25 ft (1.6 m)|
|External Baggage Volume||n/a||26 ft³|
|Cabin Height||4 ft 9 In (1.44 m)||4 ft 3 in (1.29 m)|
|Cabin Length||16 ft 8 In (5.08 m)||12 ft 10 in (3.9 m)|
|Cabin Width||4 ft 6 In (1.37 m)||4 ft 7 in (1.39 m)|
|Cabin Volume||303 ft³ (8.58 m³)||245 ft³ (6.94 m³)|
|Internal Baggage||54 ft³ (1.53 m³)||51 ft³ (1.44 m³)|
|Maximum Takeoff Weight||12,500 lb (5,693 kg)||9,850 lb (4,468 kg)|
|Maximum Landing Weight||12,500 lb (5,693 kg)||9,360 lb (4,245 kg)|
|Operating Weight||8,220 lb (3,728 kg)||6,200 lb (2,812 kg)|
|Fuel Capacity||3,662 lb (1,661 kg)||3,183 lb (1,443 kg)|
|Basic Empty Weight||8,317 lb (3,773 kg)||5,682 lb (2,577kg)|
|Maximum Payload||2,180 lb (988.8 kg)||2,300 lb (1,043 kg)|
|Full Fuel Payload||125 lb (56.7 kg)||542 lb (245.8 kg)|
|Maximum Speed (Vmo)||290 kts (333 mph / 537 kmph)||300 kts (340 mph / 550 kmph)|
|Normal Cruise Speed||283 kts (325 mph / 524 kmph)||291 kts (335 mph / 539 kmph)|
|Economy Cruise Speed @ 35,000 ft||226 kts (260 mph / 418 kmph)||259 kts (298 mph / 480 kmph)|
|Maximum Range||1,580 nmi (1,818 mi / 2,926 km)||1,720 nmi (1,979 mi / 3,185 km)|
|Takeoff Distance @MTOW, ISA||2,479 ft (755 m)||n/a|
|Landing Distance @MTOW, ISA||4,417 ft (1,346 m)||2,917 ft (889 m)|
|Service Ceiling||35,000 ft (11,000 m)||35,000 ft (11,000 m)|
|Maximum Climb Rate||2,450 fpm (12.44 m/s)||2,435 ft/min (12.37 m/s)|
|Engine (x2)||Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41||Honeywell Garrett TPE331-8-403S|
|Max Power||850 shp (634 kW)||636 shp (474 kW)|
|Propeller||Hartzell 3-Blade||McCauley 4-Blade|
|Avionics||n/a||Cessna 1000A Integrated Flight Control System|
Head to Head Analysis
The aircraft are similar enough to be used for some functions but different enough that they don’t overlap throughout their operational range. Through this comparison, we’ll learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each aircraft, which one performs better in which category, and more.
The Beechcraft Super King Air is bigger than the Cessna Conquest. It’s four feet longer, more than one-and-a-half feet taller, and has a longer wingspan. The latter is essential because the King Air is much heavier than the Conquest II and needs extra lift to perform at high-density altitude airports.
Winner: Beechcraft Super King Air 200
The larger size of the King Air automatically translates to its ability to carry more passengers. Its cabin is 55 ft³ bigger than the Conquest II, which allows it to carry a maximum of 15 passengers in the high-density configuration, five more than the Conquest II’s 10.
The King Air’s cabin is 6 in taller than the Conquest II’s, which provides passengers with more comfort when walking inside the aircraft. However, the latter’s cabin is 1 in wider than the former.
The larger cabin of the Super King Air allows it to hold more baggage in the internal hold than the Conquest II. The Super King Air’s internal hold is 54 ft³ (1.53 m³), 3 ft³ ( m³) more than the Conquest II’s 51 ft³ (1.44 m³).
Winner: Beechcraft King Air 200
What the Conquest II lacks in space, it makes up for in payload. The Conquest II is nearly 3,000 lb (1,360 kg) lighter than the King Air and has a maximum payload of 2,300 lb (1,043 kg), which is 220 lb (100 kg) more than the latter’s 2,180 lb (988.8 kg).
The Conquest II also has a higher full-fuel payload, a respectable 542 lb (245.8 kg), compared to King Air’s measly 125 lb (56.7 kg).
Winner: Cessna 441 Conquest II
Two very different engines power each aircraft. The Cessna Conquest II relies on a Honeywell Garrett TPE331-8-403S, producing 636 shaft horsepower or 474 kilo Watts. In comparison, the Super King Air uses a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41, producing 850 shaft horsepower or 634 kilo Watts.
The Conquest II has a 4-bladed McCauley propeller, while the King Air uses a 3-bladed Hartzell propeller. Later models of the Super King Air are equipped with a 4-bladed Hartzell propeller.
Winner: Beechcraft Super King Air 200
More horsepower doesn’t automatically mean more performance, which is apparent when we compare the performance of the Conquest II and the Super King Air. King Air’s larger, more powerful engines allow the heavier King Air to maintain the same climb performance. The turboprop engines of both aircraft will enable them to climb to a maximum height of 35,000 ft (11,000 m).
One of the most critical performance metrics is speed. Most passengers fly in aircraft like these to get to their destinations quicker, so the faster the plane, the better. Regarding speed, the lighter, less powerful Conquest II takes the cake. The Conquest II’s maximum speed is 10 knots (11.5 mph / 18 kmph), faster than its competitor. More importantly, the economy cruise speed – which aircraft use to fly farther – is 33 knots (38 mph / 61 kmph) faster.
The light weight of the Conquest II also helps when it comes to flying farther. The less powerful Honeywell Garrett TPE331-8-403S engines burn less fuel at economy cruise than the King Air’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41. The lower fuel burn allows the Conquest II to fly 140 nmi (161 mi / 259 km) farther, even though it has roughly 500 lb (226 kg) less fuel than the King Air.
Winner: Cessna 441 Conquest II
When the Super King Air was released, Beechcraft priced it at roughly $1.2 million, slightly more than the $1 million Cessna wanted for the Conquest II. Both aircraft increased in value since then, but the older King Air has been replaced by newer models, while the Conquest II was discontinued.
As mentioned, the Cessna 441 has held value remarkably well, with a starting price of $1.5 million to just over $1.6 million for low-time aircraft manufactured in later years. So it stands to reason that the Cessna Conquest II will continue to hold value as the years go by.
In comparison, the Super King Air 200 has depreciated drastically, mainly because the superior B200 model was released a few years after the 200 was introduced. Beechcraft introduced the aircraft in the mid-1970s with an introductory price of around $1 million. According to AvBuyer, on average, a 1974 model costs $600,000, while a 1981 model costs $800,000.
It’s hard to decide which aircraft wins this category because an operator can purchase a King Air for more than half the price of a Conquest II. However, the Conquest II depreciates much slower than the King Air. So let’s call it a tie.
Maintenance costs are essential when purchasing an aircraft. The airframe and engine must be inspected regularly, but some airplanes are more expensive to maintain than others.
The Beechcraft Super King Air 200 has a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 engine. This engine can produce a maximum of 850 shp (634 kW). The engine’s time between overhauls (TBO) is 4,500 hours, and the hot section inspection (HSI) has to be completed every 1,500 hours.
Cessna opted for a derated Honeywell Garrett TPE331-8-403S to power the Conquest II. The engine can produce 715 shp (526 kW) but only produces 636 shp (474 kW). Derating an engine puts less stress on its components, increasing its overall life span and maintenance times. The engine has a TBO of 5,400 hours and an HSI of 1,800 hours. Operators can increase the TBO to 6,000 hours and the HSI to 3,000 hours if they abide by service bulletins and apply for approval on a case-by-case basis.
The Conquest II engines are cheaper to maintain because they require less maintenance. However, the roles are switched when it comes to airframe maintenance. The King Air is more popular, so many maintenance outfits have experience with the aircraft. In addition, the high production numbers of the King Air mean an abundance of replacement parts are available.
Only 362 Cessna Conquest IIs were produced. This means that maintenance personnel familiar with the aircraft are rare, and the amount of replacement parts is limited. The aircraft is also more expensive, so that parts will be costly.
Winner: Beechcraft Super King Air 200
After much consideration, Aviator Insider crowns the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 as the winner. The Cessna 441 Conquest II put up a good fight, but overall, the Super King Air is a better pick.
The larger King Air has more space and will be more comfortable for passengers during long flights. Though it loses to its competitor in performance overall, it’s right on its heels. The lack of performance is negligible for most normal operations. The only noticeable lack of performance would be the 140 nmi (161 mi / 259 km) difference in range, meaning the King Air would have more fuel stops for the same journey than the Conquest II, wasting time.
The King Air is also cheaper to purchase in the long run, even though operators must maintain it more frequently. Because parts and maintenance costs are more affordable than the Cessna 441. Furthermore, the King Air has a longer lifespan than the Cessna 441 because it can be upgraded by retrofitting newer components from recent models.
The Super King Air doesn’t always come out ahead in this comparison. But it wins enough categories and is more versatile than the Cessna Conquest II, which is the deciding factor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Which Aircraft has a Better Safety record?
Answer: In Early Cessna 441s and their inherent flaws, the main problems were centered around the elevator and trim tab. The problems caused some severe accidents, and it took years for Cessna to fix them. Super King Airs had no faults coming off the production line, and most of the accidents were caused by pilot errors. Therefore, the Super King Air has a better safety record.
Question: Which Aircraft is More Popular?
Answer: The answer to this question is a little tougher to quantify. The Cessna Conquest II was first delivered to customers in 1977 and was produced in 1986. During its nine-year production run, Cessna produced only 362 aircraft. The project was a success because Cessna made a profit on the aircraft. However, it wasn’t popular enough to keep it in production.
The Super King Air Model 200 was developed from the Model 100. It was first delivered in 1974, and production ended in 1981 when the B200 was introduced. There were two variants of the initial model 200, the model 200T and model 200C. The Super King Air had already created a name for itself in the turboprop market, which gave it a leg up in sales.
The Model 200 was in production for only seven years, which is relatively short, and there isn’t a lot of detail about exactly how many were sold. But if the overall sales of the Super King Air are any indication, we can safely assume it was the more popular option.
Question: What is a Hot Section Inspection?
Answer: A hot service inspection (HSI) is an inspection that is carried around half the time before overhaul and is used to inspect major internal components of the engine. The inspection ensures no excessive wear and tear on these safety-critical components.
Question: What is Max Fuel Payload?
Answer: Maximum fuel payload is the maximum weight an aircraft carries after adding full fuel.
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- Conquest II specifications, cabin dimensions, performance. (n.d.). GlobalAir.Com. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from https://www.globalair.com/aircraft-for-sale/specifications?specid=196
- Krasner, H. (2021, November 9). Cessna 441 guide and specs – Aviator insider. Natalia Bickell. https://aviatorinsider.com/airplane-brands/cessna-441/
- Palt, K. (n.d.). Beech / Beechcraft (super) king air 200 – Specifications. Technical Data / Description. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from http://www.flugzeuginfo.net/acdata_php/acdata_b200_en.php
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