Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today unveiled at the annual Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida, a new standard interior for the Caravan line of single-engine turboprops, which this year celebrates 30 years in service. The new interiors, which improve cabin comfort and functionality, are available today and customer deliveries have begun.
“We can’t think of a better way to celebrate three decades of production than to offer our Caravan operators such a significant upgrade to their favorite utility turboprop: a standard interior centered around durable, comfortable seating that results in reduced weight at no additional cost,” said Christi Tannahill, senior vice president, Turboprop Aircraft and Interior Design.
A Grand Caravan EX featuring the new interior is on static display this week at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The most noticeable upgrade is an all-new machined seat frame replacing the previously welded seats. The new design includes enhanced ergonomics such as an improved back angle, seat belt location and sight lines to cabin windows. In addition, the seats now feature a durable luxury covering that is stain resistant and has an antimicrobial finish, which is especially beneficial in air ambulance and other special mission operations.
“The new seat weighs about five pounds less than the previous seat and adds additional under-seat stowage,” said Tannahill. “Other standard interior changes include a durable lightweight headliner and a new lower sidewall. On a typically-equipped, 10-place aircraft, customers will see a nearly 60-pound interior weight reduction.”
The new interiors are available in two standard color schemes: Savanna (classic neutral khaki) and Canyon (high contrast black and khaki). The company also is offering optional fabric lower sidewalls, optional carpet flooring and optional headrests. The headrests, which are required for club seating per FAA regulations, will allow Cessna to offer this configuration in the Grand Caravan EX for the first time.
“We have a number of operators who are thrilled to have the option of club seating, which is a huge benefit for companies offering VIP transportation and special mission operations,” said Tannahill. “Customers can now choose their specific seating configuration based on their specific mission requirements and country of registry regulations.”
Cessna currently offers four Caravan models: the Caravan, the Grand Caravan EX, the Caravan Amphibian and the Grand Caravan EX Amphibian. The Grand Caravan EX features a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine rated at 867 horsepower to give the upgraded model a 38 percent improvement over the rate of climb of the previous Grand Caravan model, a 350-foot reduction in takeoff roll and a 10-12 knot cruise speed improvement on average.
Cessna expects to deliver its 2,500th Caravan in 2015, and the fleet is now certified in 100 countries with more than 13 million flight hours amassed since the aircraft was introduced in 1985. Caravans fulfill roles for multiple missions, ranging from flight training to recreation, commuter airlines to VIP transport, cargo carriers and humanitarian missions.