With customer input at the forefront of its product investments, Textron Aviation is bringing the revolutionary Garmin Emergency Autoland system to its new clean-sheet design Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop. The new feature is being implemented into the aircraft's development and flight test programme and will be available as a standard feature at time of entry into service.
The Garmin Emergency Autoland system is the world's first certified system of its kind. It provides a means for the aircraft to land automatically in the unlikely event of pilot incapacitation. A passenger can activate the Emergency Autoland system by pressing a dedicated button in the cockpit. Once activated, the system immediately takes control of the aircraft and informs ATC of the emergency. It then calculates a flight path to the most suitable airport or runway, while avoiding terrain and adverse weather, initiates a stabilised approach and automatically lands the aircraft, bringing it to a stop before shutting down the engine.
“The Autoland system is an excellent addition to the Beechcraft Denali and the G3000 avionics suite, and we've included it in the programme as a direct response to continued conversations with our customers,” says Lannie O'Bannion, senior vice president, sales and flight operations. “The feature makes the Denali even more desirable to a wider audience as it adds yet another element of assurance and peace of mind for pilots and passengers.”
Textron Aviation is aligning the Beechcraft Denali aircraft certification timing, which is expected in 2025, to the certification timeline for the new Catalyst engine, a product of Avio Aero, part of GE Aerospace. The Denali is the first aircraft powered by the new, more efficient engine.
“We continue to experience great progress with the Denali development programme, and we believe the aircraft will be a game changer in the single-engine, high-performance turboprop segment,” notes Chris Hearne, senior vice president, engineering. “Our customers are excited for the Emergency Autoland feature on the Denali and, while our goal is to achieve type certification as quickly as possible, it is of greatest importance to assure that every detail is completed with the highest quality.”
The Denali flight test certification programme features three flight test articles. The three flight test aircraft have surpassed 1,300 flight hours.
Engineered to achieve cruise speeds of 285 kts and full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the Beechcraft Denali is designed to have a range of 1,600 nm at high-speed cruise with one pilot and four passengers and will be able to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York to Miami or London to Athens.
The Catalyst engine, a more efficient, FADEC-equipped, 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP)-rated turboprop engine, eases pilot workload with its single-lever power and propeller control. Like the company's other aircraft, the Denali can also use sustainable aviation fuel.
The airplane is also equipped with McCauley's new 105-inch diameter composite, five-blade, constant speed propeller, which is full feathering with reversible pitch and ice protection.
The cockpit features the Garmin G3000 intuitive avionics suite with high-resolution screens and touchscreen controllers. An integrated Garmin autothrottle interfaces with the automatic flight control system (AFCS) and flight management system (FMS) provides easy speed control throughout all regimes of flight from takeoff to touchdown.
The Beechcraft Denali's flat-floor cabin is designed to be the largest in its segment and offers the versatility to easily convert between passenger and cargo configurations. The cabin features a standard seating configuration of six individual reclining seats and offers a nine-place high density seating option. Passengers will also enjoy large cabin windows, a forward refreshment cabinet and an in-flight accessible baggage compartment. An optional externally serviceable belted lavatory in the rear of the cabin is also available.