Textron’s Denali ground test runs successful

Yves Le Marquand

Textron Aviation has successfully completed initial ground engine runs on the prototype Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop powered by GE Aviation’s new Catalyst engine.

The ground runs, which took place at Textron’s west campus in Wichita, Kansas, showed the functionality of the fuel system and engine, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems. This moves the clean-sheet design aircraft closer to its first flight, which is expected by the end of the year.

“These successful engine runs are a significant step toward the upcoming inaugural flight for the Beechcraft Denali, and they are a testament to the determination and collaboration from both the Textron Aviation and GE Aviation teams,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering.

“The Denali features a technologically advanced engine that burns less fuel. It has an intuitive avionics suite that eases pilot workload and boasts the most spacious cabin in its segment. We are excited to get this aircraft into the hands of our eager customers.”

GE’s Catalyst engine has completed over 2,450 hours of testing and is prepping for a first flight on its Beechcraft King Air flying test bed. The Catalyst engine burns less fuel than older turboprop technologies — the engine can also use sustainable aviation fuel. The 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP)-rated turboprop engine lessens pilot workload with a single-lever power and propeller control. The Full Authority Digital Engine Controlled (FADEC) engine provides trend monitoring, which allows for on-condition maintenance with no mid-life Hot Section Inspection required.

Earlier this summer, the Catalyst engine was installed on the Denali prototype airframe and the aircraft was powered on for the first time. Two other Denali flight test articles are also in development. Three additional ground test articles will be used for the airframe static and fatigue tests, and for cabin interior development and testing. The company anticipates certification for the Denali in 2023. 

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