US-based Textron Aviation Inc, a Textron Inc company, has announced the successful first flight of its new twin utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier. The milestone flight is a significant step toward entry into service for the new aircraft, and kicks off the important flight test programme to validate its performance.
Ron Draper, Textron Aviation president and CEO, said: “It was an exciting day for our employees, our suppliers and our customers — the Cessna SkyCourier performed exactly as we expected.
“I am proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic and remained focused on getting us to this point. The Cessna SkyCourier will be an excellent product in its segment due to its combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, superior performance and low operating costs.”
During the 2hr 15min flight, the aircraft’s performance was tested including its stability and control, as well as its propulsion, environmental, flight controls and avionics systems.
Mr Eckhart continued: “We were very pleased with how the Cessna SkyCourier performed throughout its first flight. It was particularly impressive to see how stable the aircraft handled on take-off and landing. The Cessna SkyCourier already displays a high level of maturity in its flight characteristics, especially for a first flight. We were able to accomplish everything we wanted, and that is an excellent start to the flight test programme.”
The prototype aircraft, along with five additional flight and ground test articles, will continue to expand on performance goals, focusing on testing flight controls and aerodynamics.
The Cessna SkyCourier, featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, will be offered in various configurations including a 6,000lb payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.
The Cessna SkyCourier is designed for high uusage and will deliver a combination of robust performance and low operating costs. It will feature the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and offer highlights such as a maximum cruise speed of up to 200ktas and a maximum range of 900nm.
Both freighter and passenger variants of the Cessna SkyCourier will include single-point pressure refueling as standard to enable fast turnarounds.