Continental Buys Rights to Cessna 406 Caravan II (Updated)
In a surprise move, Continental Motors Inc., a subsidiary of AVIC International Holding Company of Beijing, China, announced today that in partnership with ASI Innovation of Reims, France that they have acquired the Type Certificate, inventory and manufacturing rights for the F406 twin engine turboprop, more commonly known as the Cessna 406 Caravan II. Developed as a turboprop version of the Cessna 404 Titan by Reims Aviation of Reims, France, a former subsidiary of Cessna, it appeared in 1983, proving popular as a freighter, particularly in more remote areas of the world, although it is not well known in the U.S. A total of 85 were built, the last reportedly in November 2013. A few 406s were imported to the U.S., but most remained in Europe.
The F406 can fill multiple roles, including cargo hauling, passenger transport (as many as 14 seats) and military surveillance. According to Continental, the acquisition offers the partners a rugged, respected aircraft that can be configured to fill many missions and roles throughout the world. In addition, the airframe can be powered by either the Pratt and Whitney PT-6 or Continental Motors' piston engines using any of the company's geared, FADEC and diesel engine technologies. "We are pleased by the acquisition of this great airframe," said Rhett Ross, president of Continental Motors Inc. "We will be excited to see it return to production in both a turbine and piston engine configuration to meet global demand for a cost-effective twin-engine utility aircraft." Continental spokesperson Mike Gifford said that Continental does not plan to build the F406 itself, but is looking to partner with an experienced airframe manufacturer to resume production. Partner ASI will provide support and service for current owners.