Textron Aviation has rolled out the first production unit of the twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier, at the company's factory in Wichita, Kansas.
The SkyCourier made its first flight in May 2020, and the test programme'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.
“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,” says 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.”
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 refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.
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.