Third Cessna SkyCourier joins flight test program
Textron Aviation’s Cessna SkyCourier development program took another major step forward on September 28 as its third and final flight test aircraft completed its first flight. This maiden flight for the third high-wing, large utility aircraft closely followed the first flight of the company’s second test aircraft, in early August, which was designated P1 as the first conforming production flight test SkyCourier.
P1 is configured as a freighter, whereas the third test turboprop aircraft, P2, is configured as a passenger aircraft like the initial flight test vehicle, which first flew on May 17, 2020. The SkyCourier platform is designed to offer various configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version, or a mixed passenger/freight combination.
The three Cessna SkyCourier flight test aircraft have collectively accumulated 150 flight hours. The first flight of P2, piloted by Todd Dafton and Caleb Quick, lasted 90 minutes, reaching a speed of 210 ktas and an altitude of 15,000 feet.
Textron notes P2 will primarily be used to focus on avionics testing, flammable fluids testing, and cold and hot weather testing in the climatic chamber at Eglin Air Force Base in western Florida.
“This most recent successful flight of our third test aircraft allows us to continue the great momentum we have created throughout the year,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs. “We will soon be starting line production in Wichita as we move closer to getting the Cessna SkyCourier into the hands of our customers.”
Powered by Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC engines, and Garmin G1000 NXi avionics, the SkyCourier is scheduled to offer a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a maximum range of 900 nm. Textron notes the aircraft will include single-point pressure refueling as standard to enable faster turnarounds.