Textron Aviation has completed initial wind tunnel testing of its new utility turboprop, the Cessna 408 Skycourier.
Announced in November 2017, The Cessna 408 SkyCourier is a twin-turboprop, high-wing, large utility aircraft that offers a combination of high performance and low operating costs for air freight, commuter and special mission operators.
The freighter version features a large cargo door and a flat floor cabin that can handle up to three LD3 shipping containers. It can carry nearly 3 tonnes of cargo.
The 19-seat passenger version will include crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for great natural light and views.
Both versions aircraft will be powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.
The aircraft will also afford a maximum cruise speed of up to 200kts and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range.
The wind tunnel tests will be used gauge performance and aerodynamic characteristics in order to further finalizing the aircraft design.
Brad Thress, senior vice president, Engineering said: “For the initial wind tunnel testing, we use a custom, precision model with electric motors and scaled propellers calibrated to represent the thrust produced by the real aircraft,” adding “We’re making outstanding progress in the development of this clean-sheet aircraft and are eager to continue defining the details that will allow us to start creating tools and parts.”
As part of the aircraft’s design development, the company is gathered feedback from potential customers from its Customer Advisory Board (CAB). Speaking about that feedback Thress said, “The feedback we’re gathering from the CAB is extremely important as we develop an aircraft that is reliable, efficient and meets the diverse requirements of an array of mission profiles.”
The Cessna 408 Sky Courier is expected to start flight tests in 2019 with entry into service in 2020.