Cessna 408 SkyCourier
Textron Aviation is finalizing the design of the Cessna 408 SkyCourier, their twin-engine turboprop scheduled to take its first flight in 2019 with entry into service in 2020. Although the utility aircraft remains in development, Textron already has an order from FedEx for 50 of them with options for 50 more on the books.
According to Textron, “The Cessna SkyCourier is a twin-engine, high-wing, large utility turboprop that will offer a combination of high performance and low operating costs for air freight, commuter and special mission operators. The freighter variant will feature a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin that is sized to handle up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of maximum payload capability. The aircraft will also afford a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range.
The efficient 19-passenger variant will include crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for great natural light and views. Both configurations will offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds. The aircraft will be powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines, and operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.”
Cessna is marketing the aircraft as a “modern solution in the large twin-utility space,” putting its flexibility and mission potential at the forefront of its marketing materials.
“The flexibility and mission potential for the Cessna SkyCourier is attractive to a wide variety of operators,” said Brad Thress, Cessna’s Senior Vice President, Engineering. “The feedback we’re gathering from the CAB is extremely important as we develop an aircraft that is reliable, efficient and meets the diverse requirements of an array of mission profiles.”
According to a report by AIN Online, Textron Aviation’s flight-test program for its Cessna Citation Longitude finished in early June, followed immediately by at least a month’s worth of documentation in order to finalize FAA certification for the super-midsize jet. When we were at their owner’s conference in May, they told us the documentation would reach 20 stories if all the papers were stacked up. That’s a lot of…well, everything.
At EBACE 2018, Thress said Cessna had completed “nearly 3,000 flight hours on five aircraft,” with two aircraft still in the process of completing their testing, making it “the most robust certification process we’ve ever been required to conduct for a Citation.”
Thress sounded confident that the robust certification process would virtually guarantee an “exceptionally verified, clean-sheet aircraft…”
The super-midsized Longitude features a Garmin G5000 flight deck, FADEC-equipped Honeywll HTF7700L engines, Garmin’s new GHD 2100 heads-up display, and the longest maintenance intervals in its class at 800 hours, making it the most affordable aircraft to operate in its class, according to Thress.
The Longitude will have a four-passenger range of 3,500 nautical miles, a maximum cruise speed of 476 knots, and a 12-passenger cabin configuration. Although, we wouldn’t say they’re the most comfortable seats ever.
Look for news of the Citation Longitude’s FAA certification to be announced shortly.