The Beechcraft King Air family of twin turboprop aircraft can be divided into four distinct models: Model 90, Model 100, Model 200, and Model 300. The King Air 200 models were originally called “Super King Air” but Beechcraft deleted the “Super” from marketing efforts in 1996. It is not uncommon today for people to use the term “Super King Air” as a way to differentiate the 200 & 300 models from the smaller ones.
The Model 200 King Air was conceived in 1969 as the natural successor to the Model 100. It would carry the same number of passengers (13) but is slightly longer (3ft) and has a slightly wider wingspan (4ft wider). You can tell the King Air models apart by the number of windows: the Model 200 will have five round tinted windows on each side followed by the entry door on the left side and a slightly larger sixth window on the right side. There will also be one somewhat oval window on each side behind the door. The most visible feature of the Model 200 is its T-Tail.
The King Air 200 made its first flight on October 17, 1972 and the first one was delivered in February 1974. More than 3,000 have been built to date including all civilian and military variants. The current model, the King Air 250, has numerous performance improvements that allow it to fly further and higher. The Model 200’s 12,500lb max weight is the largest that will allow single pilot operation per FAA regulations and pilots do not have to be type-rated to fly it like the larger King Air 300. Since 1974 the King Air 200 has maintained an excellent safety record.
The first series of King Air 200 were simply known as “Model 200” or “Super King Air 200” and were produced from 1974 to 1980. The “Model B200” or “B200 Super King Air” was introduced in 1981. This version had few visible differences but featured better performance, higher pressurization, and a new cockpit layout. The B200GT King Air debuted in 2007 with new engines giving it better climb performance, faster cruise speed, and digital instrumentation. In 2011 Beechcraft made a few more upgrades including the addition of winglets and composite props for even better performance. This wasn’t deemed significant enough to certify it as a new model but Beechcraft renamed it King Air 250 for marketing purposes while its FAA type certificate remains B200GT.