Surf Air Confirms Order For 20 Cessna Grand Caravan EXs


Surf Air Mobility, which has an exclusive relationship with Textron Aviation for development of an alternative-energy version of the Cessna Grand Caravan EX, has confirmed an order and placed deposits on the first 20 of up to 150 of the utility turboprop singles. Deliveries are expected to begin in the first half of next year. Surf Air’s initial (unconfirmed) order included 100 Caravans with options for 50 more.

According to Textron Aviation, “Surf Air Mobility has announced its intention that the Cessna Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprops will be upgraded to Surf Air Mobility’s proprietary electric or hybrid-electric powertrain technology. Surf Air Mobility is targeting FAA supplemental type certification in 2026.”

Surf Air Mobility plans to use its hybrid electric Grand Caravans throughout its own operational network, “connecting more airports with short-haul direct service across the U.S. on a path to creating a regional mass transport platform to sustainably connect communities,” according to today’s announcement from Textron. The manufacturer added that Surf Air will exclusively provide Textron Aviation with specific battery-electric and hybrid electric powertrain technology for future factory versions of the Cessna Grand Caravan.

Lannie O’Bannion, Textron Aviation senior VP of Global Sales and Flight Operations, said, “The Cessna Caravan’s adaptability for passenger and cargo operations makes it an ideal platform for hybrid electric and electric propulsion innovations. This exclusive relationship demonstrates Textron Aviation’s commitment to the future of sustainable flight.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Linking the Cessna Grand Caravan to the concept of a “mass transport platform for sustainably connecting communities” will sell more. 🤔Hmm! Looks Green to me!

  2. Ya beat me to it, Raf 🙂

    So Surf Air is gonna take one of the best designed and prolifically produced turboprop engines (on a superb airplane) and replace it with what … tons of batteries or another turbine in the back hooked to a generator hooked to heavy ancillary equipment so an electric motor can sit up front and save the world? This electric airplane nonsense has gone far enough. STOP IT already !

    Curious, I looked up Surf Air to do my due diligence before I flapped my laptop banging fingers. I’m now spooled up and ready for a good fight today!

    OH! Another Kalyfornya company HQ’ed in LaLaLand. Formed in 2020 through an acquisition, they were offering shares for $20 as of 3/31/2023. They went public in July 2023 and the highest price I saw was ~$3.15 Todays price is ~$1.75 and analysts are saying investing in them is “risky.” The CEO is Sudhin Shahani … hmmm, isn’t anyone named “Billy Bob” anymore?

    OK … so then I wondered just who their technical partners are. OH! In February of 2021 they entered into an agreement with Ampaire — the nuts who are trying to electrify a C337. That agreement is listed as having fallen apart. So just WHO are their electrification technical partners, then?? Well, the data says they have 12 airplanes regionally serving San Carlos, Hawthorne, Santa Barbara and Truckee/Tahoe airports. Swell. Where is the technical HQ?

    Then I went to their webpage. HEY! Looks like more vaporware to me. Slick pictures but no meat.

    I smell a scam! And Textron Cessna is gonna sell them up to 150 Caravans on what … a wing and a promise? Well … if Cessna can sell the airplanes, good for them but … seeing them electrified ain’t gonna happen. I got a sawbuck on that! I think the CEO is issuing a presser so he can drive the stock price up and head off to his private island somewhere?

    Hey, Sudhin, come on here and tell us what the heck is going on with Surf Air. Why are you making such outlandish claims with nothing — apparent — to back ’em up?

    I worked in LA for five years. I’m glad I got out. There must be some deleterious impact of breathing the air out there that’s doing this to people?

    • Read this, it has appeal:

      • Loved the picture of the Grand Caravan with the dainty charging cable plugged into the cowl! Look Ma, it’s just like a Chevy Bolt, or a Tesla!

        The only thing missing from their BOD is Jim Bede….

  3. Oh, Larry……

    You Just Don’t Know How To Believe!

    We NEED to Save The Planet!

    Even a little step like this is a step in the Right Direction!

    After all, it is written “The longest journey begins with a single step”.

    This is Disruptive, Game-Changing, Laser-Focused [hopefully not an aircraft in flight, of course] Green Technology At its Best!

    Helped along here and there by subsidies and gullible investors, of course…but that’s inevitable. Casualties of War!

    [And please do not look at all those past articles in Financial Times, Reuters, Forbes, etc., which detail our rather murky financial history. That’s all behind us]

    Besides, on a grander scale, none of these planes should be flying-at all! Look at the routes served by Surf Air-all between locations populated, no doubt by individuals who have risen to their current status only courtesy of the inequitable distribution of wealth that presently exists.

    An anomaly, to be sure, but still a Thorn In Our Collective Consciousness.

    Those privileged few flying between say Santa Barbara and Truckee would be better served riding our soon-to-be-in-existence California High Speed Rail, whisking between popular destinations like Hanford and Chowchilla, with stops in McFarland, Merced, and Fresno. Date of completion is a bit uh hazy, and travel times remain aspiratonal at best, but hey, it’s an electric train so has to be Better For The Environment than any airplane.

    Get those rich people out of the air and stick them down on the ground with the rest of us!

    End Transportation Racism!

    It’s For The Children, after all.

    Wouldn’t you rather be flying behind whatever Frankenstein powerplant ends up in this contraption as opposed to an unreliable PT-6?

    • Carl … did you hire Paul Bertorelli’s AI people to write this? Because if YOU wrote this … you win the POTM (Prize of the Month) for original writing on Avweb. You ‘GOT’ my point. OH … and why are you making fun of Chowchilla? I’ve BEEN there. My ONLY worry would be if the northbound rich people’s electric train then left me ‘stuck in Lodi … AGAIN!’

      RAF … I looked at your link. I didn’t see Jim Bede but he just HAS to be there somewhere. Maybe he’s a BOD Emeritus member? I’ve been flying long enough to remember his preposterous claims SO … he SHOULD be on the Surf Air BOD.

      You made my eveinng, Carl. Problem is, now I have to change my BVD’s because I wet them.

      BTW: The charging cord on that 337 is thinner than the 4 amp battery cable I have hooked to my 172 through the external power connector door on the port side. George Bye said that’s all I’ll need IF he ever delivers my electric power pack for the airplane.

      • Well….I confess to using spell check…other than that I can rightfully claim that drivel as all my own…

        Regarding the Surf Air Board, Mr. Bede may be a silent partner [in more ways than one] but heck, if he was unavailable, there are always some former characters from the original Eclipse Aviation to add more heft to their electrified Ponzi schemes. More chaff, less wheat!

        I’ve been to Chowchilla, too…actually got stuck there overnight in August, 1980 [always a pleasant time in the Central Valley] when my 1969 Olds Delta 88 broke down just north of

        • town, was driving thru on my way to start college in SoCal. Remembered it’s claim to fame being the place in the mid 70’swhere two numbskulls decided it would be a great idea to kidnap a busload of elementary school kids and hold them for ransom. Worked out about as well for them as one would expect.

          And as for our “High Speed Rail”, I think it would likely be far cheaper and more efficient for all concerned if the State of California would take whatever money it had spent and will spend on this project, start a state-run airline instead, and issue free tickets to all concerned. Seriously.

          At least that way you would actually be able to get somewhere that people really want to go to.

          Fresno or Bust!