Textron Aviation delivered the 3,000th Cessna Caravan family turboprop last week during ceremony at its Independence, Kansas, location. The aircraft, a Cessna Grand Caravan EX, went to Azul Airlines subsidiary Azul Conecta. It will be based in São Paulo, Brazil, and used to carry passengers to and “from smaller cities and remote locations” throughout the country.
“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, Textron Aviation senior vice president of sales and flight operations. “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.”
Four Caravan single-engine utility turboprop models are currently in production including the 208 Caravan, the 208B Grand Caravan EX, the Caravan Amphibian and the Grand Caravan EX Amphibian. The first Caravan model, the 208, received its FAA type certification in 1984 followed by the freight-specific 208B Super Cargomaster in 1986. The first production 208B Grand Caravan was delivered in 1990.
Making only 3000 units in almost 40 years breaks down to roughly 75 aircraft going out the door per calendar year. Perhaps that’s how they keep supply down and demand up. Along with the prices….
Ours was the Certification article on amphibious floats for the Caravan. Flew it to Wichita Experimental–Cessna put a spin chute on it (you have to spin them to certify them). I asked the test pilot how it spun–“Better than the non-floated airplane”–they tend to go flat after about 3 turns–with the floats on, it keeps the nose down.” (crazy)
I asked “Why is the float plane only certified to FL 250, when the land plane is certified higher?” His answer: You have to fly it to the red line plus ____%. We could only get it to 27,000′–left the power up, and when we got to the target airspeed, we were at FL 250–so that’s the max certified altitude on floats.”
We flew the airplane to every Canadian Province–to Europe, Russia, North Africa, and every country in North And South America–83 countries around the world, PLUS Antarctica. WHAT AN AIRPLANE!
My dream airplane in a Caravan on floats set up for camping. Like the world’s most expensive amphibious RV.
A guy can dream, can’t he 😉
Curiously (and maybe purposely), no mention of Fedex basically creating the design and launching the original A model (30) followed by approximately 300 B and B+ models over. Many are still plying the smaller markets today and, by the way, when the 408 reaches its first “milestone”, that will be courtesy of Fedex as well. Give credit where credit’s due!