General Aviation First Cessna SkyCourier completes ground engine tests

Textron Aviation has released, that Cessna´s latest aircraft, the SkyCourier 408, has successfully completed first ground engine tests.

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The initial ground engines tests on the prototype aircraft of the new Cessna SkyCourier were a great success. The twin utility turboprop aircraft is being powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines.

These completed ground engines tests have verified the functionality of the fuel systems and engines. Furthermore, the interface is evidently working together with the avionics and the electrical systems. Celebrated as minor but important milestone, Cessna has now become a little bit closer for the first flight of the SkyCourier.

Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Programs and Engineering commented: “The successful engine run tests are a pivotal step toward proving the maturity of the aircraft and its systems as we prepare for first flight [...] We continue to meet each important milestone in our development schedule, and we look forward to having an outstanding aircraft for our customers.”

In December last year, Cessna successfully mated the wings to the fuselage. One month later, the company was able to switch on the electrical system for the first time. Then, the tail was installed to the fuselage and now the program continues with the full assembly of the prototype and the first ground tests.

Cessna´s SkyCourier was developed as versatile smaller aircraft. It can be a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter, but also and aircraft that can accommodate up to 19 passengers on board. Furthermore, a mixed passenger and freight combination will be available to purchase as well.

In November 2017, FedEx and Textron Aviation signed a deal about the purchase of up to 100 SkyCourier aircraft. The U.S.-American freight giant will become the launch operator of the airplane and will use the aircraft in the cargo version to establish a new feeder network in the United States.

Back in time, David L. Cunningham, President and CEO, FedEx Express said about the aircraft: “We worked closely with Textron Aviation to develop the Cessna SkyCourier 408, which includes several key features that will help us grow our business in small and medium-sized markets, especially in the air freight segment.”

FedEx is currently using 24 ATR 42 and 20 ATR 72 on routes throughout the United States and Europe to perform feeder operations. In the most cases, smaller aircraft serve smaller airports from main freight hubs.

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