Cessna’s new twin utility turboprop, the SkyCourier made its maiden flight from the company’s east campus Beech Field Airport on 17 May
The aircraft, piloted by Corey Eckhart, senior test pilot, and Aaron Tobias, chief test pilot, flew for more than two hours on its first flight. The sortie included tests on the aircraft’s performance, stability and control, environmental impact as well as its propulsion and avionics systems.
“We were very pleased with how it performed throughout its first flight,” Eckhart said. “It was particularly impressive to see how [well] the aircraft handled on takeoff and landing.
“The [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’s an excellent start to the flight test program.”
The prototype aircraft, along with five additional flight and ground test articles, will now continue the testing programme by focusing on flight controls and aerodynamics.
Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation said “I’m proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and remained focused on getting us to this point.
“The machine will be an excellent product in its segment due to its combination of cabin flexibility, payload, superior performance and low operating costs.”
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, it will be offered in various configurations including a 2,700kg payload freighter, a nineteen seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.
It will feature the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and have a maximum cruise speed of 200kt (TAS), with a maximum range of 900nm.
Both freighter and passenger variants will include single-point pressure refuelling as standard to enable faster turnarounds.