Cutter Flying Service Beechcraft 2000 Starship
First Albuquerque Visit: 1987
The Beechcraft Starship was a twin-turboprop business aircraft produced by Beech Aircraft Corporation. The development of the Starship began in late 1979 as an upgrade to the Beech King Air aircraft and was designed to fly faster and carry more passengers. In 1982, aircraft designer Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites designed the Starship as the first all carbon fiber composite pressurized business class aircraft. This design featured a canard wing, an all glass cockpit with computer screen instruments, and two rear mounted pusher turboprop engines. Rutan’s concept plane flew in 1983 but the full-size aircraft suffered from various production delays, design changes, and other setbacks that pushed its first flight to March 1986.
The production of the Starship did begin in 1988 and a total of 53 were eventually built by the time production was halted in 1995. Despite the revolutionary design, the Starship ended up a commercial failure. Beech only sold eleven Starships in the three years following the aircrafts certification. Many of the unsold aircraft were leased out by Raytheon, which had bought the Beechcraft Company during the design of the Starship. By 2004, only a couple of Starships continued to fly with the remaining aircraft consigned to the scrap yard or museums.
Cutter Flying Service Inc. was founded in 1928 by William P. Cutter in Albuquerque, NM to serve an upcoming aviation community in the Southwestern United States. Cutter Flying Service during the Great Depression and World War II provided needed air charter service to reach ranches, towns and businesses scattered across the rugged landscape of New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. In 1938, Cutter Flying Service offered aircraft sales, line, and fuel services to transient pilots as a Phillips 66 Aviation fuel dealer, and provided aircraft maintenance to support the growing number of aircraft in the Southwest.
Cutter was Albuquerque’s Beechcraft distributor and they only sold two Starship aircraft out of Albuquerque and neither one was based locally after the sale. Starship, N-2000J, was one of the aircraft here in January of 1987.
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