Beechcraft Baron 55 – A55 (1961-1963)
Barons come in three basic types: the Baron 55 (short body), Baron 56 (short body) and Baron 58 (long body), with several sub-variants each.
The direct predecessor of the Baron was the Beechcraft 95 Travel Air, which incorporated the fuselage of the Bonanza and the tail control surfaces of the T-34 Mentor military trainer. To create the new airplane, the Travel Air's tail was replaced with that of the Beechcraft Debonair, the engine nacelles were streamlined, six-cylinder engines were added, and the aircraft's name was changed.
In 1960, the Piper Aztec was introduced, using two 250 hp Lycoming O-540 engines; Cessna too had improved their 310 with two Continental IO-470 D, producing 260 hp. Meanwhile, Beechcraft's Bonanza had been improved with a Continental IO-470-N, but the answer to competition was to make a true twin engined variant of the Bonanza.
The first model, the 55, was powered by two, six-cylinder IO-470-L engines, producing 260 hp at 2,625rpm; it was introduced in 1961. It included the fully swept vertical stabilizer of the Debonair, while still retaining the four to four+five place seating of the Travel Air.
After building 190 Barons that first year, Beech came out with the A55, which has a 10-inch longer fuselage and could be ordered with a second fold-down rear seat, bringing potential seating capacity to six (more on that later). A total of 309 A55s were built in 1962 and 1963.
The airplane’s nose was then extended seven inches for more baggage and avionics equipment, and gross weight was bumped from 4880 to 5000 pounds. The airplane was redesignated B55. (per AvWeb site)
Baron A55 Performance specifications
- Horsepower: 2 x 260 HP
- Best Cruise Speed: 191 KIAS
- Best Range (i): 745 NM
- Fuel Burn @ 75%: 27.3 GPH
- Stall Speed: 66 KIAS
- Rate of climb: 1,700 FPM
- Rate of climb (1 engine out): 350 FPM
- Ceiling: 19,500 FT
- Ceiling (1 engine out): 7,600 FT
- Takeoff distance: 910 FT
- Landing distance: 960 FT
- Takeoff distance over 50ft obstacle: 1,700 FT
- Landing distance over 50ft obstacle: 1,470 FT
- Gross Weight: 4,880 LBS
- Empty Weight: 2,960 LBS
- Maximum Payload: 1,664 LBS
- Fuel capacity: 112 GAL