Textron Aviation on Feb 4, announced the rollout of the first production unit of the twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier, that is expected to start service soon, once testing is complete.
The Cessna SkyCourier is designed and produced by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc company.
Textron Aviation CEO Ron Draper commented on the event, saying, “Today is a rewarding day for our employees who have worked to design and build what I believe will become a legendary airplane for our company,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation.
“The SkyCourier brings an impressive combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, performance and low operating costs to the twin engine utility segment. We look forward to this highly versatile aircraft entering the market very soon.”
The Cessna SkyCourier takes into account multiple new machining and designing techniques to take Textron into the next generation of aircraft, including monolithic machining.
Monolithic machining is the milling of parts on a single piece of material instead of assembling smaller parts, cutting down on tolerances and relying less on cutting parts out of many different pieces of material.
The aircraft is also equipped to come with quick-change seats and the ability for maintenance to access the aircraft from many additional points than previous Cessna designs.
The team also developed innovative patent-pending quick release seats and overhead bins that can be installed quickly by a single operator.
Built-in Wichita, Kansas in the USA, the SkyCourier is a 900-mile radius twin-engine turboprop driven aircraft that is focused on replacing existing Cessna 208s and Beechcraft 1900s.
The self-named 408, has a capacity of 19 passengers and a max payload of 6,000 pounds at a speed of 200 knots. The aircraft is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC turboprops delivering roughly 1,100 horsepower each.
The SkyCourier celebrated its inaugural flight in May 2020, and the flight test program’s three aircraft have accumulated more than 2,100 hours.
Following certification, which is anticipated in the first half of 2022, this first production unit will be delivered to the launch customer, FedEx Express, which has agreed to purchase up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more.