WICHITA, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Textron Aviation today announced the rollout of the first production unit of the twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier, at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wichita. The new, clean-sheet design has allowed for the incorporation of the latest state-of-the-art assembly and fabrication processes and techniques into the manufacturing of the aircraft.
The Cessna SkyCourier is designed and produced by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.
“Today is a rewarding day for our employees who have worked to design and build what I believe will become a legendary airplane for our company,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “The SkyCourier brings an impressive combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, performance and low operating costs to the twin engine utility segment. We look forward to this highly versatile aircraft entering the market very soon.”
From the SkyCourier’s inception, launch customer FedEx Express and other members of Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board were instrumental in shaping the aircraft’s design, from manufacturing methods and materials, to product features and serviceability. Textron Aviation’s highly skilled employees incorporated this feedback and found opportunities to maximize quality and precision, while meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Production of the SkyCourier incorporates many of the latest advancements in aircraft manufacturing, including the use of monolithic machining throughout the airframe. With this technique, major assemblies are milled from a single piece of metal rather than assembled from smaller pieces, reducing the overall number of parts and resulting in a more precise tolerances for easier assembly.
Designed with serviceability at the forefront, the SkyCourier features quick access points throughout the aircraft for inspection and repairs. The team also developed innovative patent-pending quick release seats and overhead bins that can be installed quickly by a single operator.
The SkyCourier celebrated its inaugural flight in May 2020, and the flight test program’s three aircraft have accumulated more than 2,100 hours. Following certification, which is anticipated in the first half of 2022, this first production unit will be delivered to the launch customer, FedEx Express, which has agreed to purchase up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more.
About the Cessna SkyCourier
The Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine, high-wing turboprop offers a combination of performance and lower operating costs for air freight, passenger and special mission operators. In addition to the freight version, there is a 19-passenger variant of the SkyCourier that includes crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for natural light and views. Both configurations offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.
The aircraft is powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley Propeller C779, a heavy-duty and reliable 110-inch aluminum four-blade propeller, which is full feathering with reversible pitch, designed to enhance the performance of the aircraft while hauling tremendous loads. The SkyCourier is operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics and has a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 ktas. The SkyCourier has a 900 nautical-mile maximum range. The aircraft features a large door and a flat floor cabin that is sized to handle up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of payload capability.
About Textron Aviation
We inspire the journey of flight. For more than 90 years, Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has empowered our collective talent across the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands to design and deliver the best aviation experience for our customers. With a range that includes everything from business jets, turboprops, and high-performance pistons, to special mission, military trainer and defense products, Textron Aviation has the most versatile and comprehensive aviation product portfolio in the world and a workforce that has produced more than half of all general aviation aircraft worldwide. Customers in more than 170 countries rely on our legendary performance, reliability and versatility, along with our trusted global customer service network, for affordable and flexible flight.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com.
Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; the timing of our new product launches or certifications of our new aircraft products; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; performance issues with key suppliers or subcontractors; and cancellations or deferrals of orders.