Textron Aviation announced on Monday that the Cessna SkyCourier has gained FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification, paving the way for its commercial debut with Federal Express, the launch customer for the new aircraft.
The certification comes after more than 2,100 hours of flight performed by three prototypes since May 2020. The twin-engine utility turboprop was designed to fill a gap in the commuter and cargo plane market.
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A engines, the SkyCourier has a similar configuration to the Grand Caravan, including a high wing, fixed landing gear and a fuselage that can handle both passenger and cargo flights.
But Cessna’s new plane also features innovations such as a Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and an aluminum four-blade propeller designed to enhance the aircraft’s performance when carrying large loads.
The SkyCourier can carry up to 19 passengers or accommodate up to three LD3 containers, with a capacity of up to 6,000 pounds of payload.
“Achieving FAA certification for the Cessna SkyCourier demonstrates the expertise and hard work of our employees, as well as Textron Aviation’s continued investment in providing solutions for our customers,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation.
Production of the aircraft has already begun to fulfill FedEx’s order of 50 SkyCourier.