Cessna SkyCourier and teams recognized with two prestigious awards

The Cessna SkyCourier has recently been recognized with two prestigious aviation awards. The Aviation Week Network Laureate Award for Business Aviation and the James McDonnell Team Achievement Award from the Society of Flight Test Engineers were recently bestowed and presented to the Textron Aviation Cessna SkyCourier teams.

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Textron Aviation’s SkyCourier team is made up of some of the most talented and dedicated employees in the aviation industry. Without their hard work, the aircraft would not have been able to achieve the level of success it has.

“It continues to be my privilege to lead this impressive team, as they’ve shown relentless determination, expertise, and hard work in bringing a new, innovative product to the market,” Hearne said. “This aircraft will have a significant impact on the industry for decades to come.”


Laureate Award

The Aviation Week Network Laureate Award for Business Aviation recognizes the extraordinary achievements of individuals and teams in the business aviation industry, particularly those who have made the greatest impact on aerospace over the past year.

Following a boom in online commerce and package deliveries, Textron Aviation began designing the aircraft with input from FedEx Express, and the SkyCourier became the first clean-sheet aircraft in this segment in years.

Senior vice president of Engineering Chris Hearne, director of Engineering and Programs Ab Dirkzwager, project engineer Darrel Hornbaker and program manager Miranda Konowitz traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the award at Aviation Week’s 65th Annual Laureate Awards banquet on November 3, 2022.

Other honorees included 4AIR for Business Aviation Sustainability, RedTail Flight Academy, Signature Flight Support SAF Utilization, and VRM Switzerland.

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James McDonnell Award

The James McDonnell Team Achievement Award was awarded to the SkyCourier program by the Society of Flight Test Engineers for the team’s work in developing this clean-sheet aircraft to reach certification status. It recognizes "a team that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of flight testing through the application of innovative technology or operational procedures."

Flight Test engineer senior specialist, Keith Gittemeier, SkyCourier assistant manager, Julie Brown, Performance Flight Test engineer, Josh Bosire and Flight Test engineering manager, Shannon Lunsford, traveled to London, Ontario, to celebrate the achievement on October 27.

The James McDonnell Award recognizes the SkyCourier’s exceptional 22-month journey to FAA certification in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite roadblocks like associated manpower, quarantine processes and remote work challenges, the SkyCourier was the first FAA Part 23 program using the new Amendment 64, which requires the use of the new consensus standards for aircraft certification.

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