Textron Aviation announced on Wednesday that the single-engine Denali turboprop will join Beechcraft’s aircraft lineup, alongside the King Air.
Since 2016, the new business aircraft has been part of the Cessna portfolio, along with the twin-engine SkyCourier. The aircraft emerged as Textron’s own design a year earlier, then called the Single Engine Turboprop (SETP).
The US manufacturer also confirmed that Denali’s maiden flight will take place later this year. After a long period of development, the aircraft has made important advances in the last six months.
In July, the GE Aviation Catalyst engine was installed in the first test aircraft and is expected to undergo functional tests in August. Textron has two other prototypes being assembled in Wichita (Kansas).
The Beechcraft Denali represents our continued strategy to invest in clean-sheet and current products in both our Beechcraft and Cessna iconic brands. Beechcraft turboprops are renowned for their versatility and reliability, and the single-engine Denali is a perfect complement to this legendary family of products. Pilots and passengers will appreciate the aircraft for its enhanced capabilities, innovative technology and all-around passenger comfort.” said Ron Draper, Textron Aviation Presidend and CEO
The Beechcraft Denali will be a direct competitor to the Pilatus PC-12 offering high speed (285 kt/528 km/h) and capacity between six and nine passengers. The range is 1600 nm (2,963 km) with one pilot and four passengers.
One of the main differentials of the plane is the new, more ecological Catalyst turboprop engine, capable of providing 1,300 shp of nominal power with significantly lower fuel consumption. However, the engine was the main cause of the delay in the program, which should have flown in 2019.
Equipped with a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Controlled) system, the GE engine has already performed 2,300 hours of tests. The aircraft also features a Garmin 3000 avionics suite, a pressurization system that maintains the cabin at an altitude equivalent to 6,000 feet, and a service ceiling of 30,000 feet.
Textron expects to certify the Denali turboprop by 2023.