Textron Aviation introduced the second Denali turboprop to its certification program on June 16. The single-engine aircraft took off for the first time on Thursday and remained in flight for two hours and a minute, the company said.
“This flight is another vitally important step for the Beechcraft Denali program as the aircraft will be used primarily for testing aircraft systems like avionics, cabin environmental control and ice protection,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs.
The first Beechcraft Denali prototype performed its maiden flight in November 2021 and so far has more than 250 hours flown.
The certification program is expected to pick up pace in the second half of the year with three test aircraft and three more full ground test airframes, with plans to enter service in 2023.
Autonomy to fly between Los Angeles and Chicago
The Denali is the second blank slate project Textron Aviation has developed in recent years, along with the twin-engine SkyCourier, which has just entered service with FedEx.
The single engine, however, will compete with the PC-12 in the executive segment. It is equipped with GE’s new Catalyst engine, with 1,300 SHP of power and which uses the FADEC system and also McCauley 5-blade propellers.
According to Textron, the Denali can reach a cruising speed of 285 knots and fly 1,600 nautical miles nonstop, enough distance to fly four passengers between Los Angeles and Chicago or New York to Miami.