Textron’s new Cessna SkyCourier 408, a twin-turboprop utility airplane introduced in November 2017, had its first flight on May 17.
The flight lasted two hours, 15 minutes and tested the airplane’s performance, flight controls, stability and control, and environmental systems, as well as the fuel system’s integration with the avionics and electrical systems. It also kicked off the rest of the airplane’s formal flight test program, which will continue with this prototype and five additional flight and ground test articles. Previous milestones included first engine runs on March 23, and first ground runs on March 27.
With Garmin G1000 NXi avionics, single-point refueling, and the ability to carry three standard-sized LD3 shipping containers, the SkyCourier can also be configured to carry 19 passengers.
The flight was conducted out of Beech Field Airport in Wichita by Corey Eckhart, senior test pilot, and chief test pilot Aaron Tobias.
Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation, said “The Cessna SkyCourier performed exactly as we expected, which is a testament to the entire team of men and women who worked together to prepare for this day … I’m proud of the way the team has persevered through disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic and remained focused on getting us to this point.”
The first SkyCouriers, which are priced at $5.5 million, are expected to enter service later in 2020.