Ground Engine Testing Begins On SkyCourier Prototype


Textron Aviation announced on Monday that it has successfully completed initial ground engine tests on the prototype of its Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine turboprop. According to the company, initial testing covered verifying fuel systems and engine function along with avionics and electrical systems interfaces. The SkyCourier is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines.

“The successful engine run tests are a pivotal step toward proving the maturity of the aircraft and its systems as we prepare for first flight,” said Textron Aviation Programs and Engineering Senior Vice President Chris Hearne. “We continue to meet each important milestone in our development schedule, and we look forward to having an outstanding aircraft for our customers.”

As previously reported by AVweb, the SkyCourier prototype was fitted with its wings last December. The aircraft is expected to have a range of 900 NM, 6,000-pound payload and maximum cruise speed of up to 200 knots. It will be equipped with the Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and is designed to seat up to 19 passengers or carry three standard LD3 air cargo containers.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Struts? STRUTS?
    It’s the 21st century and they have external struts?
    Are we supposed to take this seriously?

  2. Strut braced wings are structurally efficient. If the primary goal is useful load rather than outright cruise speed, a strut-braced design structure will itself weigh less for the payload lifted than a cantilever wing. Besides, with fixed (non-retractable) landing gear, it seems obvious that maximum speed was not a design goal.

  3. I gotta ask what’s new here? Anything? Better crash protection? Anti stall design? Pilot optional?

    Textron – proof that regulation Kills innovation.

    • Yes, trivial news are annoying, but layout convergence is not necessarily a bad thing. It is obvious with big transports. I am sure there is plenty of small innovations and improvements over older designs which may eventually add up to lower cost per box of cargo.

      • Perhaps there are things not being seen here, and if this were just about any company who had not continued building the same piston planes and engines since they were obsoleted in about the eighties, I’d say nothing.

        But this is more old stuff from what is now one of very few US plane companies, and the state of the industry is very much a result of their decisions.

        I would be really interested in what ways this aircraft differs from one they would have made in 1980 besides the cargo hold functionality and a glass cockpit from another company.

  4. A Twin Otter that can carry containerized freight. Maybe the better name would be the FedEx Special.