in Air Transport

New Cessna twin turboprop unveiled for cargo and commuter operations

Posted 28 November 2017 · Add Comment

Textron Aviation has today unveiled a new aircraft - a new twin-engine, high-wing, large-utility turboprop – the Cessna SkyCourier 408. The new aircraft was launched with an order of up to 100 aircraft from FedEx Express with a firm order for 50 cargo variants and options for a further 50.

The SkyCourier is a clean-sheet design and is expected to enter service in 2020. It will come in both cargo and commuter options. In its passenger format it will be able to carry 19 passengers.
“With our depth of expertise and proven success in new product development, we were eager to work directly with a world-class company like FedEx Express to jointly develop the Cessna SkyCourier,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. “The aircraft will fulfill a gap in this market segment with its superior performance and low operating costs in combination with the cabin flexibility, payload capability and efficiency only a clean-sheet design can offer.”
The cargo 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 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.
When Textron brought Beechcraft and Cessna together, there were drawings of a new twin turboprop from Beechcraft but Textron marketeers argue that the Cessna Caravan platform set the standard in the single-engine utility category for decades say the SkyCourier will build on that proven success in the large-utility category, offering even greater capability and mission flexibility.
Computer graphics from Textron show just how much larger the new SkyCourier is, compared to the Caravan. With its 54’10” length (16.71m) it is almost a metre longer than the Viking Twin Otter 400 with which it will compete
It will be powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines providing 1,100 SHP each. It also features McCauley 4-blade Blackmac propellers.

With a 5.000lb payload it will have a 400nm mile “perfect for feeder operations” FedEx said.

A Textron computer graphic shows the size difference between the single-engine Caravan (right) and the new SkyCourier

Textron Aviation and FedEx leadership at today's signing ceremony (from left to right: David L. Cunningham, president and CEO, FedEx Express; David J. Bronczek, president and COO, FedEx Corp.; Scott Donnelly, chairman, president and CEO, Textron Inc.; Scott Ernest, president and CEO, Textron Aviation)

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