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The Duchess is a cantilever low-wing monoplane with an all metal structure, four seats, retractable tricycle undercarriage and a T-tail. It is powered by one 180hp (134kW) Lycoming O-360-A1G6D on the left wing and one LO-360-A1G6D on the right wing, which drive counter-rotating, constant-speed two-bladed propellers.
The prototype was first flown in September 1974 with the first production version flown on 24 May 1977. Deliveries to the Beech Aero Centers commenced early in 1978.
The Model 76 incorporates engines that turn in different directions to eliminate the critical engine from single engine operation.
The Duchess wing is of honeycomb construction fastened by bonding, rather than rivets, to reduce cost and produce a smoother aerodynamic surface.
The Duchess is no longer in production but large numbers remain in use in flight schools around the world.
The use of a T-tail on the Model 76 met with mixed critical reception when the aircraft was introduced. Plane & Pilot pronounced:
|“||Outstanding design characteristics of the new Duchess include an aerodynamically advantageous T-tail, which places the horizontal surfaces above the propeller slipstream for better stability and handling||”|
while Gerald Foster said:
|“||[Beechcraft’s] interest in T-tails was perhaps an affectation triggered by their wide use on jet airliners.||”|
Data from Green, William: Observers Aircraft, page 48. Frederick Warne Publishing, 1980. ISBN 0 7232 1604 5
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 3 passengers, 5 with optional seating
- Payload: 854 lb. (387.3 kg.)
- Length: 29ft. 1in. (8.85 m)
- Wingspan: 38ft. (11.58 m)
- Height: 9ft. 6in. (2.89 m)
- Wing area: 181 ft2 (16.8 m2)
- Airfoil: Root NACA 63A413.2 Tip NACA 63A415
- Empty weight: 2446 lb. (1100 kg)
- Useful load: 1454 lb. (659.5 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 3900 lb. (1780 kg)
- Powerplant: × One Lycoming O-360-A1G6D and one LO-360-A1G6D, 180 hp (135 kW) each
- Never exceed speed: 194 KIAS (225.5 mph)
- Maximum speed: 171 knots (197 mph)
- Cruise speed: 165 knots (190 mph)
- Stall speed: 60 KIAS VSo (70 KIAS VS1)
- Range: 932 NM (1072.5 miles)
- Service ceiling: 19,400 ft. (4 876.8 m)
- Rate of climb: 1248 ft./min. (380.4 m/min.)
- Wing loading: 21.6 lb/sq ft (106.0 kg/sq m)