Cessna SkyCourier passes key engine tests

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Engineers at Cessna have completed initial ground engine tests on the prototype SkyCourier twin enigine utility turboprop.

The aircraft, which is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, successfully completed the tests earlier this month. The tests verified the functionality of the fuel system and engines, as well as the interface with avionics and electrical systems.

Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Programs and Engineering at Textron Aviation, Cessna’s parent company, said, “The successful engine run tests are a pivotal step toward proving the maturity of the aircraft and its systems as we prepare for first flight.

“We continue to meet each important milestone in our development schedule, and we look forward to having an outstanding aircraft for our customers.”

Engineers on the development program are now assembling the prototype and five additional flight and ground test aircraft. Work recently completed on the prototype includes the tail being installed to the fuselage in early February 2020 and the powering on of the aircraft’s electrical system in January. The wings were successfully mated to the fuselage in December 2019.

The Cessna SkyCourier will be offered in several configurations including a 6,000 lbs payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination. All variants are based on a common platform. First deliveries of the aircraft are expected later this year.

The aircraft is designed for high utilization and will feature the Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite, a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a maximum range of 900 nautical miles. Both freighter and passenger variants of the Cessna SkyCourier will offer single-point pressure refueling to enable faster turnarounds.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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