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Beechcraft Musketeer


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Beechcraft B24 Sierra main landing gear showing the characteristic trailing idler link landing gear
Beechcraft B24 Sierra
Beechcraft B19 Musketeer Sport
Beechcraft '''A23 Musketeer'''

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The Beechcraft Musketeer is a family of single-engine, low-wing, light aircraft that was produced by Beechcraft . The line includes the Model 19 Musketeer Sport, the Model 23 Musketeer, Custom and Sundowner, the Model 23-24 Musketeer Super III the retractable gear Model 24-R Sierra and the military CT-134 Musketeer .

The Musketeer line was in production from model years 1963 to 1983 , during which time a total of 4,366 were produced. The type certificate for the Musketeer family of aircraft has been owned by Hawker Beechcraft since 26 March 2007.

Development

Model 23 Musketeer and Custom

The first of the line was the Model 23. It was introduced under the "Musketeer" name as a 1963 model at an initial price of $13,300 and was powered by a Lycoming O-320 -D2B engine of . The next year this engine was replaced by the Continental IO-346 -A engine of . This engine was not a success and was in turn replaced by the Lycoming O-360 -A4J engine of starting with the B23 Musketeer Custom of 1968. In 1970 the C23 version was introduced also under the name "Musketeer Custom". In 1972 the C23 was renamed the "Sundowner". When properly equipped, the B23 and C23 are approved for limited aerobatics .

A total of 2,331 Beechcraft 23s of all variants were manufactured by the time production was completed 20 years later in 1983.

Model 19 Musketeer Sport

The Beech 19 was introduced as a 1966 model year. Despite having a lower model number, it was a later variant and was a lower-powered trainer version of the Model 23. It lacked the 23’s third side window and had a Lycoming O-320-E2C powerplant of . The Sport was introduced in 1966 with a standard price of $11,500. When properly equipped, the A19, B19, and M19 Sports are approved for limited aerobatics.

The Model 19 was named the "Musketeer Sport" and a total of 922 were built over the 15 years of production which ended with the 1979 model year.

Model 23-24 Musketeer Super III

Along with the introduction of the lower-powered Model 19 in 1966, Beechcraft also introduced a higher-powered version of the Model 23 Musketeer and named it the Beechcraft 23-24 Musketeer Super III. This upgraded model had a Lycoming IO-360 fuel injected powerplant which produced , more than the standard Model 23 Musketeer of that year. This model initially sold for a price of $16,350 in 1966.

In 1966 a single demonstration Model 23-24 was equipped with a constant speed propeller. In succeeding years approximately one third of production aircraft were delivered with the constant speed propeller.

The Super Musketeer typically has a useful load of 1050 to 1080 pounds - giving it one of the highest payloads of four-cylinder, fixed gear, simple single engined aircraft available. Most Model 23-24s were produced in a four-seat configuration. A very small number were produced with a 4+2 configuration with the baggage area convertible to seat two children. This configuration option was more common on the Sierra models that followed the Model 23-24.

One of the few weaknesses of the Model 23-24 is that it had a simple heat distribution system that provided warm air via the firewall to the area under the instrument panel only. This meant heat to the rear seat passengers was less than optimal. Later aircraft featured increasingly better ducting designs that provided heat to all four seating positions.

The fixed-gear Model 23-24 was produced only between 1966 and 1969 . A total of 369 Musketeer Super IIIs were completed before it was superseded by the Model 24 Sierra. These were serial numbered MA-1 to MA-369 and were the only models to have a "MA" serial number, making them easier to distinguish than other members of the Musketeer line. In the last few airframes of the series a new instrument panel with the same "vertical tape" gauges that were used in the early Sierras was introduced. These models were known as the A24 and are not to be confused with the first Sierras, which were designated A24R models. Other than the instrument panel these aircraft were mechanically identical to the earlier A23-24 model.

Model 24 Sierra

The Model 23-24 Musketeer Super III proved the utility of the engine in the Musketeer airframe, but the fixed gear configuration prevented using full advantage of the extra power of the injected Lycoming. The obvious solution was retracting the landing gear and this resulted in the Model 24.

Christened the "Sierra", the first model year for the new retractable version was 1970 . The initial A24-R Sierra was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B of and sold for a standard price of $24,950. The Model 24 completed the Beech line between the fixed gear Musketeers and the much larger, faster, more complex and expensive Beechcraft Bonanza .

1973 saw the introduction of the improved B24-R Sierra powered by the Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 engine variant. The improved C24-R was powered by the same engine and replaced the "B" model in 1977 .

Sierra production ended at the same time as the Model 23 Musketeer assembly line was closed, during the aviation economic downturn of 1983 . A total of 744 Sierras were delivered.

The Musketeer design was further developed into a twin-engine aircraft, the Beechcraft Model 76 Duchess .

CT-134 Musketeer

Design

Landing gear

The main difference between the Musketeer line and other similar light aircraft is the Musketeer’s undercarriage. While the competitive Cessna 172 s use sprung steel main gear, the Piper PA-28 Cherokee s use oleos and the Grumman American AA-5 s use fibreglass sprung main gear, the Musketeer family use a trailing idler link gear system with a compressed rubber puck suspension system. This gives the aircraft quite different landing characteristics compared to the competition; light touchdowns are often accompanied by the idler links skipping and producing a less-graceful than anticipated landing. With practice smooth landings are easy to accomplish.

As a result of this type of landing gear design, Beechcraft did not design or offer wheel fairings for the fixed gear models. Several after-market manufacturers have designed and tested wheel fairings for Musketeers.

Operational history

During their production years the Musketeer family of aircraft were popular trainers and were used by many flying schools. Most Musketeers are now privately owned and are prized for their large, roomy cabins, airframe strength and stability, if not their high cruise speeds.

Variants

23 Musketeer

Four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear , powered by a Lycoming O-320-D2B piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 20 February 1962.

A23 Musketeer II

Four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Continental IO-346-A piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 7 June 1963.

A23A

Four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Continental IO-346-A piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 5 November 1965.

A23-19

(Model 19)Two or four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2B , E2C or E3D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 9 December 1965.

A23-24

Four or six-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A2B or A2D, or when equipped with a constant speed propeller a Lycoming IO-360-A1B or A1D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 7 March 1966.

A24

Four or six-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A2B or A2D, or when equipped with a constant speed propeller a Lycoming IO-360-A1B or A1D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 5 February 1970.

19A

Two or four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2B , E2C or E3D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 31 August 1967, approved in the aerobatic category 12 March 1968.

M19A

Two-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2B , E2C or E3D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 9 December 1969, including in the aerobatic category.

B19

Two or four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-320-E2B , E2C or E3D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 13 February 1970, including in the aerobatic category.

B23

Four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-360-A2G piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 13 December 1967 and in the aerobatic category 22 November 1968.

C23

Four-seat light cabin aircraft, fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming O-360-A4G , A2G, A4J or A4K piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 13 February 1970 including in the aerobatic category.

A24R Sierra 200

Four or six-seat light cabin aircraft, retractable tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B or A1D piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 23 December 1969.

B24R Sierra 200

Four or six-seat light cabin aircraft, retractable tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 18 June 1973.

C24R Sierra 200

Four or six-seat light cabin aircraft, retractable tricycle landing gear, powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 piston engine, gross weight of , first certified 1 October 1976.

Operators

Military operators

* Algerian Air Force (4 x B24R Sierra)

* Canadian Forces (48 x CT-134 and CT-134A )

* Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force (2 x B23-19)

* Mexican Air Force (20 x A23-19)

* Royal Moroccan Air Force (1 x 23)

Specifications