On January 13, the Textron Aviation delivered a new Cessna Grand Caravan EX to the regional airline Azul Conecta, a subsidiary of Azul Linhas Aéreas.
The aircraft registered PS-CNH is the 3,000th turboprop of the Cessna Caravan family produced by the US manufacturer, which launched the program in 1981.
“This Grand Caravan EX will proudly fly the Brazilian skies and connect our 158 destinations, many of which are made possible by the aircraft’s utility and flexibility,” said Flavio Costa, technical director of Azul and president of Azul Conecta. “As a longtime Textron Aviation customer with a fleet of over 25 Cessna aircraft, we are happy to be a part of this important milestone.”
“The Cessna Caravan’s versatility and reliability have made it the most popular aircraft in the utility turboprop category, with now 3,000 delivered globally,” said Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president of Sales and Flight Operations at Textron Aviation. “I’m thankful to customers like Azul Conecta who continuously rely on the Caravan family of aircraft to fulfill their missions, deliver solutions and improve lives around the world.”
The first Caravan prototype made its maiden flight on December 9, 1982 and its entry into service took place in 1984. Part of the development of the aircraft was funded by Federal Express (FedEx), the freight company specializing in the delivery of goods.
The company, at that time, was looking for a light aircraft with low operating costs to expand its coverage in the US and therefore placed a purchase order even before the product was completed. With the successful employment by FedEx, the single-engine Cessna gained more interest.
With a robust construction and the ability to land and take off on unprepared runways, the Caravan has become the ideal means of air transport to operate in remote regions with little support on the ground.
Due to its capacity and versatility, the aircraft won all kinds of tasks, transporting passengers and cargo operated by commercial companies or serving in military purposes.
The Caravan’s engine is a Pratt & Whitney PT6A turboprop, the most popular in the world in this category. According to the manufacturer, the engine has 868 horsepower and can propel the aircraft to a maximum speed of 343 km/h. The range is around 2,000 km, depending on the weight of the transported cargo.
The success of the Caravan motivated Textron to think of an aircraft with a similar proposal, but with superior capacity. From there, SkyCourier was born, a high-wing twin-engine aircraft with fixed landing gear that also had the support of FedEx, which is its first operator.