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SkyCourier completes initial wind tunnel testing

Initial wind tunnel testing on the new twin-engine Cessna SkyCourier turboprop has been completed, according to manufacturer Textron Aviation.

Results from the comprehensive tests will provide performance and aerodynamic characteristics and structural load data, helping to further finalise the aircraft design.

Brad Thress, senior vice-president, engineering, said the company used a custom, precision model with electric motors and scaled propellers calibrated to represent the thrust produced by the real aircraft in the testing. “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,” he added.

The Cessna SkyCourier was launched in November last year, with the company saying it has seen “tremendous interest from operators looking for a modern solution in the large twin-utility space. As part of the aircraft’s design development, the company is garnering feedback from its Customer Advisory Board – empowering operators to affirm what customers need in this segment.”

The flexibility and mission potential for the aircraft is attractive to “a wide variety of operators,” said Thress. “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 first flight of the SkyCourier is planned for next year, with entry into service during 2020. The 19-passenger variant will include crew and passenger doors for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows. Both configurations will offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.

It will be powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.


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