Attendees of the recent NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) convention in Orlando got a chance to see a complete mockup of Textron Aviation’s upcoming twin-engine Cessna SkyCourier utility turboprop along with passenger options and standard features. Textron, which is targeting the high-wing aircraft at airfreight, commuter, and special mission operators, announced the SkyCourier last November. The company expects the SkyCourier to first fly next year and enter service in 2020. Textron has already signed FedEx Express on as the aircraft’s launch partner with an initial order of 50 cargo models with options for 50 more.
Multiple Missions Served
Textron engineered the SkyCourier to be a versatile, heavy-utilization turboprop “with significant payload to undertake a variety of missions,” states Rob Scholl, Textron Aviation’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. Owners and operators can configure the clean-sheet SkyCourier for up to 19 passengers. In a passenger configuration, the airplane features separate passenger and crew doors, a netted air cargo area for luggage and equipment, USB ports situated throughout the seating area, and large windows. Optional overhead baggage compartments are also available.
At NBAA, Textron had a passenger configuration on display, but will also offer a separate freighter variant. The latter supports up to a 6,000-pound (2,721-kilogram) payload and can accommodate up to three LD3 shipping containers. Both SkyCourier variants feature a single-point pressure refueling for quicker turnarounds.
Wind Tunnel Testing Completed
The SkyCourier has already completed initial wind tunnel testing, and Textron says work on the main landing and nose gear is in progress. The aircraft will use two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and Garmin G1000 NXi avionics. Its maximum speed tops out at 200 KTAS, while its flight range maxes at 900 nautical miles (1,667 kilometers) or 400 nautical miles (741 kilometers) with a 5,000-pound (2,268-kilogram) commuter payload.