Textron flew its new Cessna SkyCourier utility twin turboprop for the first time on Sunday and all went well according to the pilots. The high-wing hauler took off from Beech Field Airport with senior test pilot Corey Eckhart and chief test pilot Aaron Tobias up front and flew for two hours and 15 minutes. “We were very pleased with how the Cessna SkyCourier performed throughout its first flight,” Eckhart said. “It was particularly impressive to see how stable the aircraft handled on takeoff and landing. The Cessna SkyCourier already displays a high level of maturity in its flight characteristics, especially for a first flight. We were able to accomplish everything we wanted on this flight, and that’s an excellent start to the flight test program.”

The prototype that flew will be one of six aircraft used for certification testing. It’s powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines and can be configured for 19 passengers, 6,000 pounds of freight or a mix of both. It will cruise at 200 knots with a range of 900 nautical miles. “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,” said Textron CEO Ron Draper. “The Cessna SkyCourier will be an excellent product in its segment due to its combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, superior performance and low operating costs.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Those upwards facing exhaust stacks are going to collect some serious water every time it rains.

    • The exhaust stack configuration on the Sky Courier is like the one on the Beech 1900D. I flew the D model for 4 years in rain and snow and never had an issue with the upward-turned exhaust collecting water in the air or on the ground.

    • Maybe, but they make it much harder for SAM7s to lock on.
      You surely did not think it is designed to take little old ladies to church, did you?

  2. With the Caravan already out there, I can only guess it’s for customers preferring two engines. Hard to tell if it carries more or less payload than a Caravan does. Could be about the same or more I would guess.

    • The entire useful load of a Caravan is 3,270 pounds.
      Just the cabin-area payload (cargo configuration) of the SkyCourier is projected to be 6,000 pounds.
      MUCH bigger airplane.