Flying

BLACKHAWK’S KING AIR 350 ENGINE UPGRADE

WHAT AVIATION AFICIONADO hasn’t watched the iconic 1986 hit movie Top Gun, the story of Maverick, a US Navy F-14 pilot portrayed by actor Tom Cruise? In an early scene with co-star Anthony Edwards, the pair is walking among a bevy of parked F-14s when Maverick’s overcome with the need to yell, “I feel the need—the need for speed,” in a high-fiving moment of excitement.

Sounds like most pilots, not to mention the people riding along with them. Flying brings great joy to all of us, but it’s also about traveling from one place to another—fast. Business aviation, in fact, is built around the need to turn useless hours on the airlines into productive time spent aboard a GA machine. That’s why pilots upgrade from a Piper Archer to a Beech Bonanza, then to a Baron or single-engine turboprop. Everyone wants to arrive just a little sooner while carrying more people and stuff.

Over the past 40 or 50 years, an entire industry of aftermarket modifications has emerged to squeeze every ounce of performance from airplanes of all sorts, especially for people who still love the airplane they already own or don’t want to spend the cash on a new one. There are often added bonuses to upgrading some airplanes: the increase in overall aircraft value and bringing it closer to the holy grail of modifications—making the airplane perform better than an original OEM machine at a far lower cost. By far, one of the most popular upgrades is switching powerplants.

Blackhawk Aerospace has created its own market for engine upgrades over the

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