Momentum builds for Cessna SkyCourier as second test article takes flight
Wichita, Kan. – 11 August 2020 – Textron Aviation has announced the successful flight of its second Cessna SkyCourier flight test article (P1). The milestone flight for the high-wing, large utility aircraft comes just two-and-a-half months after the prototype Cessna SkyCourier first took to the skies on May 17. The P1 aircraft is the first conforming production flight test aircraft and is the first airframe configured as a freighter.
The first flight of P1, piloted by Peter Gracey and Todd Dafforn, lasted one-hour and 35-minutes reaching a max altitude of 14,200 feet with a max speed of 210 ktas. The aircraft will be used for the flight test program, primarily for systems testing, including propulsion, environmental control and avionics.
“This flight is another important step for the Cessna SkyCourier program as it will be used primarily for testing aircraft systems like avionics, environmental control and anti-icing,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs. “Since the debut flight for the prototype aircraft, the team has rapidly moved through testing and has accomplished its goals of initial envelope expansion and handling, including stalls. When you consider they have achieved all these milestones despite the many disruptions caused by a global pandemic, it’s quite remarkable. The Cessna SkyCourier program is heading through the second half of 2020 with a great deal of momentum.”
The aircraft joins the Cessna SkyCourier prototype in the flight test certification program, which will include three variations of flying aircraft. Since the Cessna SkyCourier prototype completed its first flight in May, the aircraft has successfully completed 38 flights and logged more than 76 flight hours. Through the flights, the team has been able to expand speed and center-of-gravity envelopes, complete preliminary engine and propeller tests, as well as initial stability and maneuverability tests.
The Cessna SkyCourier will be offered in various configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter and a 19-seat passenger version, all based on the common platform.
Designed for high utilisation, the Cessna SkyCourier is designed to deliver a combination of robust performance and lower operating costs. 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. The Cessna SkyCourier will include single-point pressure refuelling as standard to enable faster turnarounds.