Cessna's first SkyCourier takes flight

Aviation Updates Philippines – The latest addition to the turboprop aircraft fleet of Textron Aviation, Inc. took to the skies for the first time on Tuesday. The Cessna 408 SkyCourier is designed for fully-loaded high-frequency operations with maximum efficiency.

"Today was an exciting day for our employees, our suppliers, and our customers. The Cessna SkyCourier performed exactly as we expected, which is a testament to the entire team of men and women who worked together to prepare for this day,” President and CEO of Textron Aviation, Ron Draper, said.

Draper added: “I’m proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic and remained focused on getting us to this point. The Cessna SkyCourier will be an excellent product in its segment due to its combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, superior performance, and low operating costs. Our customers will be very pleased with what they experience from this aircraft.”

The SkyCourier took off Beech Field Airport for a 2-hour and 15-minute test flight, where vital flight systems are tested, on Tuesday. Commanding the test flight were Corey Eckhart, senior test pilot, and Aaron Tobias, chief test pilot.

The Cessna SkyCourier, featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, will be offered in various configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.

Textron Aviation's newest aircraft is designed for high utilization and will deliver a combination of robust performance and lower operating costs. Cessna SkyCourier will feature the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and offer highlights such as a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a maximum range of 900 nm. Both freighter and passenger variants of the Cessna SkyCourier will include single-point pressure refueling as standard to enable faster turnarounds.
Cessna SkyCourier

As of the moment, cargo airline FedEx Express remains the largest prospect operator for the SkyCourier as it placed an outstanding order for 50 aircraft and options for 50 more back in 2017. FedEx plans to deploy these new aircraft for feeder networks as a replacement for the Cessna 208B Grand Caravans.