Jump to content

Aircraft Review - Beechcraft Duke B60 by RW Designs


Recommended Posts


Aircraft Review - Beechcraft Duke B60 by RW Designs

The Beechcraft Duke was originally created as a gap filler in between the Beechcraft Baron and the Beechcraft QueenAir in the Beechcraft Twin-Engine sales lineup, but the aircraft never became a big sales hit (only 598 Aircraft were produced), and many commentators noted that overall Beechcraft didn't want to take sales away from their highly successful (and profitable) KingAir lineups, so the aircraft became really just a small niche aircraft in Beechcraft's history. That is not taking away that the aircraft was not popular, because it was. As many are still flying and is still very popular amongst the owners who treat the aircraft as others treat their classic car collections. That is mainly because the aircraft was very advanced in its time, with Electro-mechanical systems when the aircraft was introduced, but the aircraft does has its downsides in that it has a very poor drag factor, and crash one and they were impossible (meaning very expensive) to repair.

Two factors however kept the aircraft flying with an update that included an improved pressurized cabin that utilised a advanced bonded honeycomb construction, lighter and more efficient turbochargers and improved elevators over the Baron it competed with, this was the B60 as represented here and this aircraft was powered by the Lycoming TIO541-B4 engines that develop 380 hp each, and a second development, Rocket Engineering of Spokane, Washington, replaced the Lycoming reciprocating engines with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 or -35 turbine engines that gave the aircraft the sort of performance it should have had in the first place. As noted the Turbine upgrades the take-off length required  by over 1,500 feet to only 1,000 feet and the landing distance is reduced by over 2,000 feet to only 900. The maximum rate of climb is increased from 1,600 feet per minute to whopping 4,000 feet per minute, reducing the time to climb to 25,000 feet from 25 minutes to 9 minutes. The cruise speed is increased to 290 knots at 29,000 feet. The modification does have some disadvantages as it increases fuel burn from 56 gallons per hour to 66 and lowers the certified ceiling from 30,000 feet to 28,000.

The Duke first flew on 29th December 1966 when the prototype made its first flight. On 1st February 1968 the FAA issued the type certificate for the aircraft.

Performance B60 version: Never exceed speed: 235 knots (434.5 km/h, 270 mph) (IAS) - Maximum speed: 248 kts (460 km/h, 286 mph) at 23,000 ft (7,010 m) - Cruise speed: 178 knots (330 km/h, 205 mph) 45% power, 20,000 ft (6,100 m) - Stall speed: 73 knots (135 km/h, 84 mph (IAS) - Range: 1,227 nmi (2,274 km, 1,413 mi) 45% power at 20,000 ft (6,100 m), 45 min reserves - Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,145 m) - Rate of climb: 1,601 ft/min (8.1 m/s).



RW Designs - Beechcraft B60 Duke

You have to give some credit to RW Designs that they are not if anything give you a lot variety in their choice of aircraft. First it was the Airbus A330-300 (updated to Version 2) and then the workhorse DHC-6 Twin Otter -300, and now here is a general aviation aircraft in the Beechcraft Duke B60.

The B60 is without doubt a striking looking aircraft, mostly because of that tall sharkfin tail and long snouty nose, but it is roomy aircraft as well for its size. You could call it a big twin aircraft, but a medium twin would be closer to the mark. So the aircraft has a real presence sitting on the parking area.



The external detailing is very good of the Duke. lines and panels are really well done, with all the riveting in place to conform the panels. That distinctive tail is excellent, with main and trim rudders. Most designs today really have to live up to even a basic high standard that users now expect, certainly the Duke delivers in that area. And the minor detailing is well done in aerials, static-dischargers, undercarriage assemblies and the glass transparency is also first rate.

DW Designs does not here give you any special features. So there are no Menus (tabs), static elements, Ground Power Units (GPU) or weight, fuel or aircraft load sheets. In that area it is a basic aircraft...  so it is WYSISWYG.

The aircraft has only one door on the left rear, it opens via the inside latch to give access to the cabin.



The aircraft is set out in a four seat club arrangement and two more forward seats for the pilot/co-pilot, so six seats in all. There is a built in table but it doesn't flip up (or out). There is a sense of space in the cabin and the seat design and textures are very good, but the cabin looks very new and there is not a lot of wear or tear, so it looks a little plain compared to some of the grotty worn Carenado's we are used to. There is a baggage area behind the rear seats but no luggage.

Cockpit and Duke Versions.

The RW Designs Duke comes with the choice of two variants The variant is selected by choosing a different aircraft in either the:

Original : Lycoming TIO541-B4

Royal Turbine : Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21

...   versions, so you really get two very different aircraft in the one package. Outwardly and externally the aircraft are identical except for the different propellers, as on the Lycoming it is a standard 3-bladed propeller and on the Turbine it a newer 4-bladed Hartzell propeller (reversible), but in the cockpit and certainly in performance they are quite different.


Basically it is analogue for the Lycoming (left) and digital for the Turbine (right) in the context of engine displays, the Turbine also has a few rows of annunciator indicator or warning lights under the centre glareshield.

I am flying the Turbine version, but will note the analogue version differences as we go along.



Pilot and Co-Pilot instrument panels are quite basic in both having the main standard instruments. The standard six instruments (Airspeed Indicator, Attitude Indicator or Artificial Horizon, Altimeter, Turn Coordinator and Vertical Speed Indicator) are central large and clear on both sides. I like the idea of putting the navigation instruments on the below the standard six, but this arrangement can also hide them behind the excellent yoke and you need navigation dials clear and easy to glance at.


The Navigation instruments are the ADF pointer (both sides), CDI (course deviation indicator) for VOR OBS (Nav2) and Radar Altitude. Above the standard six is the VOR1/VOR2 distance/speed/time (both sides) and Autopilot annunciators (pilot side only).

Most of the main switch gear and dials are on the lower panel. It is quite a crowded set of panels, but well laid out.


On the far left are the main "De-Ice" switchgear including pitot heating. Middle-left is the Fuel gauges, which are dials and digital on the Turbine and analogue gauges on the Lycoming. Below are the main lighting switchgear with two lighting adjustment scroll panels below. Undercarriage position lights are under the lever.

In the centre panel are the gauges and dials for electrical loads, Volts and Prop-Amps.and two large dials for Oil Pressure.

On the right side lower panel are flaps (3 stage - UP- APH (Approach) - DN) and the rest of the panel is for your controls and dials for the aircraft's pressurization system, shutoff valves and cabin temperatures. The rest of the right side of the panel and the far right is your sets of electrical fuse poppers.


A small and compact centre pedestal has your Throttle, Propeller and Mixture (Rich/Lean) levers, noted is they are all dark grey in the Turbine, but the Lycoming uses the Blue (Propeller) and Red (Mixture) standard colored knobs, which are more attractive. Great trim wheels with the main large pitch on the left side and the main and fine trim wheels on the rear.


Fuel Tank selection is between the front seats on the floor.

Engine Instrumentation and Equipment Stacks

As noted there are differences between the Turbine and Lycoming variants on the left of the pilot panel and the main central panel.

Turbine Variant


There is an aftermarket fit-out of dials and digital readouts for engine performance in TRQ (Torque), ITT (Interstage Turbine Temperature), Ng (compressor speed), RPM, FF (Fuel Flow), FP (Fuel Pressure) for each engine.

A full set of annunciators are set across the top of the panel under the glareshield.

Bendix King equipment Stacks consist (left stack) of the standard KMA 28 TSO Audio set with both a Garmin 530 and Garmin 430 GPS units (X-Plane standard), below is a KFC 225 autopilot unit that covers the actions of HDG, NAV, APR, ALT, VS, ARM (altitude) and Yaw Damper.

Right stack has two KX 155A TSO Radios top with one for COM1/NAV1, and the lower one covers COM2/NAV2 settings. Then the KT 70 TSO Transponder and the lower ADF - KR 87 TSO with built in flight timer (FLT) and elapsed timer (ET).


The Turbine side panel has switches for "Bat" (Battery) Avionics "Master" and a standby inverter as well as a primary inverter.

The GPS Units (Both GNS 430 and GNS 530) are controlled by a Master Avionics Switch. All other Radio’s are connected by directly to the battery by switches Bat - Gen (1,2) finally their are two fuel boost switches. 

To start you just hold the lower part of each rocker switch down for an engine and then when the engines are running push the rocker up to activate the generators. Below there are two Hobb's meters and cowl flap switches which I don't think work.

Above is a lovely large "outside temp gauge".

Lycoming Variant


The Lycoming panel is dominated on the top by a large set of five analogue dials and gauges, that cover left to right: Manifold Pressure, Prop RPM, Fuel Flow and one gauge for each engine for CHT (cylinder head temperature), Oil Temp, Oil PSI. A note on the dials is that there are two needles per dial for each engine. If both are running together in the same performance then they are together as one indicator, but slow one engine down and you will see them separate to show both engine parameters. 

The Equipment Stacks are set out exactly the same as on Turbine, but with the add-on digital dials removed the whole set up is moved over to the left of the central panel area.


The main annunciators are moved to the side panel on the Lycoming. with the "Avionics" standby inverter as well as a primary inverter switches top and then the "Gen" - "Bat" - "Gen" switches below. Then the two fuel boost switches and starters are a (nice) red twist knob for each engine. Below two Hobb's meters and cowl flap switches are the same as the Turbine.

Flying the Duke, or should I say Duke's!

I decided to fly the Turbine version up the coast from EGNT - Newcastle to EGPH - Edinburgh and then back again in the Lycoming to get the feel of each variant.



Power up and with the VOR2 set to "ST ABBS" VOR (112.50) and the prop/mixture levers full up, a push of each rocker switch starts the turbine whine of each P&W PT6A-35 turbocharged engine that pushes out 580 hp. I like the blue glow of the digital readouts, it makes the cockpit look more modern and efficient.



Plenty of power to move the aircraft but it is hard to find that sweet spot between moving too fast and the aircraft rolling to stop in the taxi, I found it but the range is very narrow. The windscreen is very tall for a GA, so the view forward is quite good, but the glareshield is high as well, so you sort of peek over it.



With over 1100 hp the aircraft easily moves forward and you are very quickly at rotate speed of 130knts, the aircraft tracks centered as well and you feel the air and control the vertical speed of 1800fpm with no effort at all. Speed will still build quickly if you level out early so you need to pull back the power to keep the best V/S and the climb rate.



The Duke looks nice in the air "Stately" like its name is a good statement. The huge engines set far forward out of the wing can really block the view from the pilot's perspective. You have to crane forward and look through the main window to see features or navigation landmarks.

Because the aircraft is pressurized, you can climb easily to the high 20's (30,000ft is the ceiling) and the noted "1,227 nmi (2,274 km, 1,413 mi) 45% power at 20,000 ft (6,100 m), 45 min reserves". So it is no doubt this is an aircraft for extended cruising and distance covering, but I would recommend the Turbine version for the extra power in covering distances.



The panel lighting is good but it took me awhile to get the right combination of roller adjustment to get the one I liked, not too dark or too bright.

The ADF needle is on a set compass so it can look odd against the other navigation instruments and looks out of alignment, but you soon use it the way it is supposed to be used and it worked well with my set course needle to align up EGPH RWY24.

The aircraft does not like tight turns at speed, I'm surmising that the airframe has now engines of too much power in the turbines that it was not designed for. Banking on the autopilot and you get a very pronounced - or + vertical speed fluctuation, back off the power a little and it does quell the bouncing a little, but you have to give the yoke a bit of forward and back adjustment to soften out the fluctuations, you get used to it and are prepared when you need a turn, but it can get wild if you are not on your game.


The excellent John MD River Forth Crossings (Bridges) shows you the approach to EGPH. With the flaps down you can easily stay around the 100knt approach speed. The drag is there, but to more in your favor than having to push the power to the wall to get through the drag, so it is a usable approach in that the turbine power can allow you to finely adjust your approach speed.


The stall speed is noted at 73knts, which is quite, low, but around 85knts is ideal on final's, and the aircraft is quite stable.



You get reverse prop on the Turbine, but not a "beta" setup, and on contact with the runway you can easily run off the speed, and taxi to the GA ramp.



EGPH to EGNT, Lyncoming and lighting


There is a lot of panel and cabin lighting adjustments, 4 small scroller's, two larger scroll wheels and two switches. Here it is set to the overhead lighting so I can set up the aircraft, it looks good and the area is workable.

Starting is via the two red knob switches but otherwise there is not much difference between the two variants. But pull away and it is very evident that the power is now not there. You are a full 200hp down on each engine (380hp) and your throttle is now traveling a lot more up its gate to get the aircraft moving, its slightly sluggish as well and even more trickier to taxi power wise.


Takeoff is also going to need more nerve as your takeoff run to the 130kts rotate speed, only it now takes forever to build up the speed, you use a lot more runway to do exactly the same thing, a bonus however is once airborne the aircraft is more docile with less power and slight better feel in the yoke and rudder pedals, banking and a slower rate of climbing is smoother and less frantic than the over powered Turbine.


You are not going to climb fast either, you have 1800fpm at your disposal, but if you are going to climb to the high 20's then it is going to be a long afternoon as 1200fpm to a maximum of 1500fpm is going to be your best effort.





A bit more fiddling and you can get the panel to look really good in the right balance of feel and look, and very attractive it is. It is debatable if the Turbine digital look is better than the glowing analogue dials, but I feel the analogue version is better at night. Note the separate needles for each engine performance on the dials.


Rear cabin is well lit and looks nice, but there is no actual light fitting, so the lighting seems to glow out of the ceiling. External lighting is good.


Beacons, Nav and Strobe look good in the dark, there is wing light switch (Ice) but I couldn't see and lighting on any wing.



Cockpit has a nice feel at night and you get good visuals out of that tall windscreen. Outside the landing and taxi lighting only works when the wheels are down, they look good, but are hopeless in operation. Runway approach is dark, so it is hard to gauge the depth to the tarmac. Once down and there is no reverse thrust in the Lycoming Duke and you bleed off speed far slower on a dark runway. That done and you then have to taxi around with no lighting either. They are three beams out there but they are not seen from the cockpit. 



More grunt is needed to keep the flow right to taxi to the GA area, but I have found myself more familiar now with getting the aircraft around the traps.


Shut down the piston version of the Duke and you are thinking of how you like the aircraft. Sounds are well improved and now Sasl plugin driven and better than the older standard X-Plane sounds. There is a slighter higher whine to the Turbine but my Carenado Caravan sounds more turbine than the Duke.


There is one blank white and four design liveries, and all liveries work on both aircraft types. All are good and 4K resolution but the range is small for an aircraft of this design. There is a paintkit included.





Overall the Beechcraft Duke B60/Royal Turbine is very good. There is a slight basic feel to the aircraft, no nitty gritty details or visual realism in depth, but then again those aircraft are in another higher price range. No special features here either like menus or static elements and animations that you can play around with to enhance the fun factor.

But the Duke is an interesting aircraft to fly and for the investment you get really two quite different aircraft for the price of one, so it is good value. In design the aircraft is well done, and the different panel versions add in a change of scenery without changing aircraft. And it is wholly debatable of which version you will like the most, with the Lycoming more challenging to fly with less power but the Royal Turbine having the legs and thrust to fly higher and faster further.

I'll let you decide on that, as overall the Beechcraft Duke is a very interesting aircraft to put in your hangar, and by history a niche design to wonder if it should have been more successful than it was.


The Beechcraft Duke B60 by RW Designs is available from the New X-Plane.Org Store here : Beechcraft B60 Duke

And is priced at only US$26.95



2 versions of the engine Beechcraft Duke:

  • Lycoming TIO-541-E1C4: 380 hp variant
  • Royal Turbine PT6A-21: 580 hp variant

Highly detailed Model

  • High-Resolution 3D Model
  • Each variant has its own true to life cockpit
  • Ultra-High Resolution 4K textures
  • Full 3D exterior model
  • Night lighting
  • Optimised for both HDR and non-HDR


  • 5 paint schemes in 4K
  • The Paintkit is included so you can paint your own liveries
  • Interchangable liveries between engine variants

Custom Systems

  • Programmed Radios
  • Customized Garmin 430 and Garmin 530
  • Custom flightmodel using SASL for ultra realism.
  • SASL powered sound authentic to the engine variants

Installation :   Download file size is 186.90mb to your X-Plane - GA Aircraft Folder. Installed file size is 266.40mb

Notes: None

Documents :  Two sets of Checklists for both variants (Lycoming and Turbine) and POH (Pilots Operational Handbook) for the B60 and supplemental for the Royal Turbine.


Requirements : X-Plane 10.30+. Windows, Mac Linux - 4Gb RAM. 1Gb+VRAM Video card

Current version: 1.02 (Last updated September 17th 2015)

Developer Support Site : (RW Designs X-Plane.Org Support)


Review by Stephen Dutton

24th September 2015

Copyright©2015: X-Plane Reviews

Review System Specifications:

Computer System:  - 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”- 9 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3 - ATI Radeon HD 6970M 2048 mb- Seagate 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Mac OS Yosemite 10.10.1 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.40 ( RC3 is close enough to final)

Addons - Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Scenery or Aircraft

- EGNT - Newcastle Airport 2.0 by tdg (X-Plane.Org) - Free

- EGPH - Edinburgh, Scotland by Joyfulsongster ((X-Plane.Org) - Free

- Forth River Crossings by John MD (X-Plane.Org) - Free


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 3 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...