Beech Skipper history, performance and specifications

Beech flew the prototype model 77 as the PD285, with a low-set tailplane, on February 6, 1975, but it was not until September 1978 that production of the prototype flew. This comparatively long gestation period enabled Piper to announce the rival tomahawk in November-October 1977, and began customer deliveries early the following year. It was not until April 1979 that the Model 77 Skipper began production lines, by which time the design had been modified to incorporate a T-tail.

     By the beginning of 1961, about 12 a month were being built and around 200 had been delivered; by comparison Piper had delivered 1000 Tomahawks in the first year of production, 220 in 1980, and established a rate of 20 a month by early 1981.

    The Skipper was designed as a primary trainer for beach Aero Centres, with low initial and operating costs, while simplicity of maintenance was emphasized. Its wing had a high-lift aerofoil developed by NASA, and an unusual feature was the use of torque tubes, in place of cables and pulleys, to activate the flaps and ailerons. Power plant consists of a 115-hp Avco Lycoming O-235-L2C.

Horse power: 115
Cruise speed: 97 kts
Top speed: 106 kts
Stall speed (dirty): 47 kts
Empty Mass: 1103 lbs
Gross Mass: 1675 lbs
Fuel: 29 gal
Range: 370 nm
Service ceiling: 12900 ft
Rate of climb: 720 fpm

Ground roll: 780 ft
Over 50 feet obstacle: 1280 ft

Ground roll: 670 ft
Over 50 feet obstacle: 1313 ft