Momentum builds for Cessna SkyCourier program as certification flight test begins

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WICHITA, Kan. (March 25, 2021) – The Cessna SkyCourier turboprop continues to surpass significant milestones as it begins the certification flight test phase of the program for the high-wing, large utility aircraft. Each major achievement has allowed the members of the flight test program a better understanding of the aircraft’s strength, capability and durability.

The Cessna SkyCourier aircraft is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.

The fleet of three flight test aircraft has now completed more than 700 flight test hours, and the program continues toward FAA certification and first deliveries later this year.

Since the third aircraft joined the flight test program in late 2020, the Cessna SkyCourier team has gained momentum through several substantial accomplishments that include:

  • Envelope expansion to all corners of the speed, altitude, and structural design.
  • Extreme hot and cold weather testing, ensuring aircraft systems are functional and operational at extreme temperatures.
  • Bird strike testing, which included eight separate tests over a two-month period, to demonstrate the impact resistance of the windshield glass and surrounding structure.
  • Certification of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engine through Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA), with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification expected soon.
  • Natural icing certification, demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to operate in actual icing conditions. 

“The SkyCourier was designed to fulfill a need in the marketplace for a flexible, reliable, high-utilization aircraft for customers around the world, and its versatility makes it a great fit for a wide range of operations,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs. “The aircraft has performed exceptionally well through every phase of testing, and we’re pleased by its progress. With the start of certification flight test phase, we are entering one of the most important phases of the SkyCourier program, and I’m confident in our highly skilled team and the outstanding abilities of this aircraft.”

Program accomplishments 

Production final assembly for the SkyCourier begins this month on the company’s east campus in Wichita. State-of-the-art tooling, including high-speed machining, has been developed for the aircraft’s assembly. “We’re excited to manufacture another revolutionary product for our customers,” said Brad White, senior vice president, Operations. “Everything with the Cessna SkyCourier tooling is brand new and designed and produced in house. Our production team has made final preparations to the process, focusing on every step to ensure assembly is completed with great efficiency and excellent quality.”

Relentless capability 

The Cessna SkyCourier aircraft will be offered in two configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter and a 19-seat passenger version, all based on the common platform. The Cessna SkyCourier aircraft will deliver a combination of robust performance and lower operating costs. The aircraft will include single-point pressure refueling as standard to enable faster turnarounds. The aircraft features the popular Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and offers highlights such as a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 ktas and a maximum range of 900 nm.

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About Textron Aviation

We inspire the journey of flight. For more than 90 years, Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has empowered our collective talent across the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands to design and deliver the best aviation experience for our customers. With a range that includes everything from business jets, turboprops, and high-performance pistons, to special mission, military trainer and defense products, Textron Aviation has the most versatile and comprehensive aviation product portfolio in the world and a workforce that has produced more than half of all general aviation aircraft worldwide. Customers in more than 170 countries rely on our legendary performance, reliability and versatility, along with our trusted global customer service network, for affordable, productive and flexible flight.

For more information, visit www.txtav.com  |  www.defense.txtav.com  |  www.scorpionjet.com.

About Textron Inc.

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information, visit: www.textron.com

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking statements which may project revenues or describe strategies, goals, outlook or other non-historical matters; these statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the efficacy of research and development investments to develop new products or unanticipated expenses in connection with the launching of significant new products or programs; the timing of our new product launches or certifications of our new aircraft products; our ability to keep pace with our competitors in the introduction of new products and upgrades with features and technologies desired by our customers; changes in government regulations or policies on the export and import of our products; volatility in the global economy or changes in worldwide political conditions that adversely impact demand for our products; performance issues with key suppliers or subcontractors; difficult conditions in the financial markets which may adversely impact our customers’ ability to fund or finance purchases of our products; and demand softness or volatility in the  markets in which we do business.

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