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Cessna 408 SkyCourier
 
 Cess-SkyCour-01
 
On November 28, 2017, Textron Aviation unveiled a new large utility turboprop designated as Model 408. The aircraft’s configuration was built to fit FedEx Express requirements. FedEx Express has signed on as the launch customer for up to one hundred aircraft, with an initial fleet order of fifty cargo aircraft and options for an additional fifty.
 
The SkyCourier is a twin-engine, high-wing, large utility turboprop built for high utilization operations. It will be offered in a 19-passenger version incorporating large round cabin windows for greater views and separate crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, or in a cargo version which features a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin sized for three LD3 shipping containers and 6,000 pounds of maximum payload, with a maximum cruise speed of 200 knots and a maximum range of 900 nautical miles. Both versions will provide single-point pressure refueling to allow faster turnarounds.
 
The clean-sheet design of the SkyCourier will feature improved cabin flexibility and payload capability, excellent performance, and reduced operating costs compared to its rivals. The airframe is constructed from conventional aluminum materials and will be powered by two Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-65 turboprop engines with 1,100 horsepower of thrust each. The aircraft is also designed with fixed landing gear and Garmin G1000 avionics.
 
The Skycourier was expected to enter into service in 2020. In March 2018, initial tests in the wind tunnel were performed and accomplished. The maiden flight was initially set for 2019 and the design will be certified to FAR Part 23 standards.
 
In December 2019, assembly of the wing and fuselage was completed. In March 2020, initial ground testing was performed, including inspection on the fuel system, engines, avionics interfaces, and electrical systems.
 
Cessna’s new twin utility turboprop, the SkyCourier made its maiden flight from the company’s east campus Beech Field Airport on 17 May 2020.
 
The aircraft, piloted by Corey Eckhart, senior test pilot, and Aaron Tobias, chief test pilot, flew for more than two hours on its first flight. The sortie included tests on the aircraft’s performance, stability and control, environmental impact as well as its propulsion and avionics systems. 
 
The prototype aircraft, along with five additional flight and ground test articles, testing programme was focusing on flight controls and aerodynamics.
 
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, it was to be offered in various configurations including a 2,700kg payload freighter, a nineteen seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.
 

 Cess-408-01

 

It was to feature the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and have a maximum cruise speed of 200kt (TAS), with a maximum range of 900nm.
 
Both freighter and passenger variants will include single-point pressure refuelling as standard to enable faster turnarounds.
 
Cessna 408 Skycourier
Engines: 2x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC, 1100 hp
Max Cruise Speed: 200 kt / 370 kph
Range: 900 nm / 1,667 km
Service Ceiling: 25,000 ft
Take Off Distance: 1006 m / 3,300 ft
 
 
 
 


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