Textron Aviation’s Cessna SkyCourier, a clean-sheet, twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, has been granted FAA type certification.
The high-wing aircraft’s production line is underway, and the first unit will soon enter the market with launch customer FedEx Express.
“Achieving FAA certification for the Cessna SkyCourier demonstrates the expertise and hard work of our employees, as well as Textron Aviation’s continued investment in providing solutions for our customers,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “Our clean-sheet design brings to this segment what customers said they need: the ability to load, fly, unload and repeat with low operating costs and maximum cabin flexibility and efficiency. We expect the SkyCourier to be a workhorse of the fleet for FedEx and many other customers around the globe for decades to come.”
Three SkyCourier aircraft accumulated more than 2,100 hours throughout the flight test programme, which formally started with an inaugural flight in May 2020. Textron Aviation rolled out the first production unit of the SkyCourier earlier in 2022 at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas.
Launch customer FedEx Express has agreed to an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more. FedEx Express participated in Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board, along with other fleet operators, to help shape the aircraft’s design, features and serviceability.
As well as the freighter version, the Cessna SkyCourier turboprop is available in a 19-passenger variant that includes separate crew and passenger entries 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.
The SkyCourier features a large door and a flat-floor cabin, and the freighter version can hold up to three LD3 shipping containers with a 6,000 lb (2,722kg) payload capability.