According to ainonline.com Cessna SkyCourier twin-turboprop prototype completed its maiden flight on 17 May from Beech Field at Textron Aviation’s east campus in Wichita. Flown by senior test pilot Corey Eckhart and chief test pilot Aaron Tobias, the aircraft flew for two hours and 15 minutes.
“We were very pleased with how the Cessna SkyCourier performed throughout its first flight,” Eckhart said. “It was particularly impressive to see how stable the aircraft handled on takeoff and landing. The Cessna SkyCourier already displays a high level of maturity in its flight characteristics, especially for a first flight. We were able to accomplish everything we wanted on this flight, and that’s an excellent start to the flight test program.”
FedEx has placed an order for 50 aircraft with a further option for 50 more.
Configurable for both cargo and commuter operations, the high-wing turboprop is designed to carry a payload of up to 6,000lbs and is able to carry three standard LD3 air cargo containers. In its passenger configuration, the SkyCourier will seat up to 19 passengers, with a netted rear cabin area for luggage and equipment. The aircraft will be available in a mixed passenger and cargo combination.
“I’m proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic and remained focused on getting us to this point,” said Textron Aviation CEO Ron Draper. “The Cessna SkyCourier will be an excellent product in its segment due to its combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, superior performance, and low operating costs. Our customers will be very pleased with what they experience with this aircraft.”