PD 290 Jet-Of all the light plane manufacturers, it would have seemed likely that Beech, with its business aircraft image and engineering acumen, would have been the first among the Big Three to design and build a marketable jet. It chose instead to market someone else's, aircraft which had already undergone the pains and expense of research, development and certification. Starting with the Morane-Saulnier MS 760 Paris Jet in the Fifties, it was followed by the Hawker-Siddeley HS-125.
When Cessna unveiled its Citation in 1972, it was evident that at least some of Beech's future markets would have to be in jets, so in 1975, Beech built a testbed for jet aerodynamics and systems. Using the first King Air 200 prototype, engineers replaced the two turboprops in the wing nacelles with two Pratt & Whitney JT-15D-4 turbojets. The rather striking PD (Preliminary Design) 290 accumulated 93 hours on 103 flights between March 1975 and September 1977, apparently gathering enough information to convince the company to resume the search for a ready-built design. In late 1985, Beech announced it had purchased the design, tooling and rights to manufacture and market the Mitsubishi 300 jet.
picture: "The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft"
text: WIngs of Kansas www.wingsoverkansas.com/history/article.asp?id=645