MIAMI – The Cessna SkyCourier turboprop progressively achieves major milestones as the program enters the certification flight test process.

Per a media release by Textron Aviation, each significant accomplishment has provided the flight test engineers a deeper knowledge of the aircraft’s capability, and reliability. Textron Aviation designed and manufactured the high-wing, large utility aircraft, the SkyCourier.

SkyCourier. Photo: Textron Aviation.

Flight Test Campaign

Over 700 flight test hours have been logged by the fleet of three flight test aircraft. The Flight Test is also on track to receive FAA approval and begin deliveries later this year. Furthermore, the Cessna SkyCourier category had grown substantially by the time the third aircraft joined the flight test program in late 2020, with several major milestones, including:

  • Fleet of test aircraft pushed to full flight envelope, covering all corners of the speed, altitude, and structural design.
  • The flight test team monitored the fleet on excess weather to ensure that aircraft systems are reliable and operational under extreme weather conditions.
  • The team, over a progressive two-month period, has practiced all bird strike test scenarios, to demonstrate the aircraft’s windshield and surrounding structures’ robustness against any impact.
  • Amongst the test, Certification of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engine through Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), achieved. In addition, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification is under progress.
  • The SkyCourier demonstrated its ability to operate in actual icing conditions and achieved neutral icing certification.
Cessna SkyCourier in Extreme Hot and Cold test. Photo: Textron Aviation.

Story of Design and Construction

The SkyCourier was developed to satisfy a consumer need for a “flexible, efficient, high-utilization aircraft for customers all over the world,” according to the press release, and its flexibility makes it a perfect match for a wide range of operations, according to Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs.

Hearn added, “The aircraft has performed exceptionally well through every phase of testing, and we’re pleased by its progress. With the start of the certification flight test phase, we are entering one of the most important phases of the SkyCourier program, and I’m confident in our highly skilled team and the outstanding abilities of this aircraft.”

On the company’s east campus in Wichita, the final assembly for the SkyCourier will begin this month. For assembling this aircraft, Cessna produced cutting-edge tooling, including high-speed machining. “We’re excited to manufacture another revolutionary product for our customers,” said Brad White, senior vice president, Operations.

“Everything with the Cessna SkyCourier tooling is brand new and designed and produced in-house. Our production team has made final preparations to the process, focusing on every step to ensure assembly is completed with great efficiency and excellent quality.” White added.

SkyCourier. Photo: Textron Aviation.

SkyCourier’s Capability

The SkyCourier was created on a single platform by Cessna. As a result, the plane comes in two versions: a freighter with a payload of 6,000 pounds and a passenger version with 19 seats. Furthermore, the aircraft will be well-balanced in terms of performance and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, single-point pressure refueling will be mandatory on the plane, allowing for faster turnaround times.

The aircraft is equipped with the well-known Garmin G1000 NXi avionics kit. It also has a maximum range of 900 nautical miles and a maximum cruising speed of 200 knots.

Featured image: Cessna skyCourier Test fleet. Photo: Textron Aviaiton