The initial wind-tunnel testing of the new twin-engine Cessna SkyCourier turboprop is now complete, Textron announced on Tuesday. Engineers will analyze the results from the tests to develop performance and aerodynamic characteristics and structural load data. “We’re making outstanding progress in the development of this clean-sheet aircraft and are eager to continue defining the details that will allow us to start creating tools and parts,” said Brad Thress, senior vice president for engineering. “For the initial wind tunnel testing, we use a custom, precision model with electric motors and scaled propellers calibrated to represent the thrust produced by the real aircraft.”
The company is also working with potential operators to ensure the final design will meet their needs. “The feedback we’re gathering from the customer advisory board is extremely important as we develop an aircraft that is reliable, efficient and meets the diverse requirements of an array of mission profiles,” said Thress. The airplane is designed to carry up to 19 passengers or up to 6,000 pounds of freight. The company said it is anticipating first flight of the SkyCourier next year, with first deliveries in 2020.