Welcome to the world of the


Grand Duke

Flight Test


Country of origin  

United States of America



60 - Two 285kW (380hp) Lycoming TIO541E1A4 turbocharged fuel injected flat six piston engines driving three blade constant speed Hartzell propellers. B60 - Two 285kW (380hp) Avco Lycoming TIO541E1C4s.


60 - Max speed 460km/h (248kt), cruising speed 395km/h (214kt). Range with optional fuel and 45 minute reserves 1890km (1020nm). B60 - Max level speed 455km/h (246kt) at 23,000ft, max cruising speed 443km/h (239kt) at 25,000ft, cruising speed 431km/h (233kt) at 25,000ft. Initial rate of climb 1601ft/min. Service ceiling 30,000ft. Max range at 20,000ft with reserves 2078km (1122nm).


60 - Empty equipped 1860kg (4100lb), max takeoff 3050kg (6725lb). B60 - Empty equipped 1987kg (4380lb), max takeoff 3073kg (6775lb).


Wing span 11.96m (39ft 3in), length 10.31m (33ft 10in), height 3.76m (12ft 4in). Wing area 19.8m2 (212.9sq ft).


Standard seating for four with optional fifth and sixth seats and toilet.


Beechcraft built 584 Dukes between 1968 and 1982, including 113 60s, 121 A60s and 350 B60s.

200 - 500 K


Four or six place light business twin


Between the Beech Baron and Queen Air in size, performance and general capabilities, the Duke was a pioneer in the pressurised high performance light business twin class.

Beechcraft began design work on its new Model 60 in early 1965, with the first flight of the prototype occurring the following year on December 29. US FAA Certification was awarded on February 1 1968.

Design features of the Duke include turbocharged Lycoming TIO541 engines driving three blade propellers and a 0.32 bars (4.6psi) cabin pressure differential. The airframe was based loosely on the Baron's wing and undercarriage, plus a new fuselage employing bonded honeycomb construction. Optional fuel tanks in the wings were offered, increasing range.

Deliveries of the initial 60 model began in July 1968. Further development led to the improved A60. Appearing in 1970 it introduced an enhanced pressurisation system and longer life yet lighter turbochargers which increased the maximum altitude at which the engine could deliver maximum power, thus improving performance.

The definitive model of the Duke family is the B60. New interior arrangements and more improvements to the turbochargers were the main changes to this model, which first appeared in 1974. Production ceased in 1982.

Since its appearance the Duke has been regarded as something of a hot ship, with its high performance in a relatively small package the main attraction. However, this image did not translate into anything other than modest sales because of the Duke's relatively complex systems (turbochargers and pressurisation among them) and high operating costs.

Fuel (gph): 39.00
Fuel Costs/Gallon: $2.50
Fuel Costs/Hour: $97.50
Oil Costs per Hour: $2.00
Maintenance Cost/Hour: $79.60
Hourly Engine Reserve: $50.00
Prop Reserve: $7.00
Total Variable Costs/Hour: $236.10
Average Speed (kts): 200
Annual Insurance: $7,000.00
Annual Hangar/Tiedown: $6,000.00
Training: $5,000.00
Total Fixed Costs: $18,000.00
Hours/Year: 150
Fixed Cost/Hour: $120.00
Total Variable & Fixed Costs/Year: $53,415.00
Total Costs/Hour: $356.10


Planning on getting a DUKE ?

Some considerations when you are really into it !!

On the American market there are a number of early DUKES for cheap money. These are pre-1975 machines and are called either Beech 60 or Beech A-60. They are offered between $ 80.000 and $ 120.000. Systems on these airplanes tend to be worn out and are very costly to replace. There is a very simple reason for that. Beechcraft sold its 1980 DUKE with good equipment and de-ice for around $ 640.000. If you calculate a 4 % annual price increase - which is not out of this world concerning the increased cost of labour and material as well as inflation - the 1996 DUKE would sell for about $1.3 Mio and plus sales tax. And there you are : you get a cheapy but the price you have to pay for the spares is calculated on a today basis. Someone who sells below say $ 100.000 knows this game, and knows how much he has to put into the aircraft to make it all working again.

DUKES are build almost to airline standards. So it is a long time before something really breaks. But if it does, be sure you have deep pockets.

Back to the early DUKES : there is nothing wrong with these airplanes but some of the systems are outdated and difficult to maintain : the pressure cabin control system for instance consists of a very peculiar controller, hard and expensive to get and the function is so-so. The autopilot is very often a H-14 pneumatic George that has to breath deeply to function properly. If it does for the moment, it won't do so for a long time. Always consider a replacement. If there is still the old avionic fitted, be prepared to replace it. No particular DUKE problem this rather a sign for the reliability of the system and its installation (airline standard, remember). After 25 years no system is up to date anymore. Some of the early DUKES were fitted with only 142 gal tanks. Forget them ! And don`t even think of upgrading the tanks to the 202 gal capacity. You could end up with a bill in the same amount you bought the airplane. The engines (Lycoming TIO-541) can be of an older version which results in smaller turbochargers and some other surprises

If you have to, go shopping for a decent Beech DUKE B-60. Roughly all airplanes build after 1975 are B-60. It is said that the production year 1975 was not the best Beech had and that there are a lot of squeaky airplanes from that year around. I myself cannot say if that is true, mine is from that production year and is as good as others. Anyway you will find airplanes that are worth looking at from $ 180.000 to ???. Here in Europe the price can go over DM 1 Mio. (app. $ 670.000) with EFIS installed and reasonably good engines.

Every hints and tips you find in various magazines concerning the acquisition of used airplanes is also true for the DUKE. I don't want to repeat them. What I will tell you are some things that are unique to the DUKE. The rest is routine. Just one common wisdom : if its the first DUKE you going to buy, go and get someone whose profession it is to look at and mend airplanes.Even better if his or her last contact with a DUKE is not five years ago changing a tire.

The first thing you have to look at when shopping for a DUKE is corrosion. This is something not easily detected from outside, especially when a new paintjob has been done. Two things can be of major concern. First a new paintjob has been done during the last couple of years. To get it done and over with someone forgot to either seal or later replace the eight breather valves in the belly of the airplane. These valves are responsible for letting all water out of the airplane when it is un-pressurized on the ground. You spray over them you seal them. Since the cabin of the DUKE is quite airtight, condensation and other water builds up in the belly and can't get out. There you have your first source for heavy corrosion. A friend of mine once flew a DUKE, that was making funny sounds. When he cut through the valves about 15 gal of water came out of the airplane. That is not 1.5 gal but 1 5 gal ! Those valves cost a dime, but it is tricky and therefore expensive to replace them. And : if you don't know you don't see from the outside.

The other thing on the topic of corrosion is the tail section. I tell you what : they made the whole tail from magnesium. Now you might remember from school that magnesium is highly corrosive and in some circumstances can light itself up when brought into contact with the oxygen in the air. Now don't run away fearing your DUKE in spe will incinerate the moment the ink is dry under your check. It is not that bad. But it is enough reason for concern. Once corrosion has started on the tail section and is not immediately treated properly you can forget it. So remove the tailcone and take a flashlight. If you are not allowed to by the seller, forget the deal. Open access holes in the horizontal stabilizers and look into them. Look for signs on the outside. Remember : the material for the tail section carries a price tag of over $100.000 sans installation. So you better take your time.

Engines and Turbochargers : Make sure both engines are Lycoming TIO-541-E1C4. Not so good if one or both carry the tag TIO-541-E1A4. Keep in mind that these engines are only used in the DUKE. No other aircraft carries these engines. The E1A4 is an older version that cannot be overhauled or remanufactured by Lycoming. Up to now you get these older versions exchanged into the newer E1C4 when you have them remanufactured. by Lycoming free of charge. But how long. The older version might have an other turbocharger then the new version; and the E1C4 version is much more solid then the old version. Look where the engines come from : are they overhauled by some fancy noname you are most likely in for trouble. Those power-plants are not very common on the market, so most of the overhaul shops just don't have the knowledge. Always a good sign is when they are Lycoming factory remanufactured. Best deal. Those engines have a bad reputation. Bullshit. They are fantastic and reliable powerplants when flown right. Remember : the DUKE can cover a temperature range of 60 deg C OAT in a matter of minutes. The engines are rated 380 hp all the way up. So you can ruin them quickly by pulling the wrong lever at the wrong time. I'd rather buy a lower priced one with engines near TBO then a midtime one that had it`s engines done by a noname. Further information on this subject in the maintenance section.

Avionics : To my opinion the DUKE was made for the KING Gold Crown avionics. Back-lit center panel does not work with Collins. A question of taste, but remember : Beechcraft installed Collins as standard equipment and charged you a very substantial extra on the KING Gold Crown.

De-Ice : the known-ice-certificate carries a lot of things to be installed and working. First there is this fabulous heated windshield. Gold plated, highly priced. Make sure it is working properly. You can feel it warming up in flight. Labor on replacing it is not substantial, the windshield itself is. The boots and the pneumatic system is another story. You can see what condition the boots are in, but then there is a so called ejector valve in the tail. It might stick. Try the boots a couple of times. If the pressure on the pressure gage drops considerably before building up, the DUKE needs either two new vacuum pumps or the ejector valve is about to quit. The boots on the DUKE are not cycled; they work or they don't. See maintenance section.

Landing gear : take an exact look at the up- and down-lock cables. Look at the entry step and at it's cables. A step that does not retract costs about 10 knots

Pressure cabin : check it working. If not working properly forget the deal. Any pressure differential below 4.0 psi in the appropriate level is a no go item. Don't get fooled by anyone saying it is probably only a loose wire. It is not. Something is really wrong and there are many components to check and replace very costly. If the differential pressure is near maximum 4.6 psi in climb and is decreasing by up to 0.5 psi in level flight with power reduced, the chances are good that the rubber landing gear seals are worn out. Parts are affordable, work is high.