OSHKOSH, Wisconsin – Textron Aviation is moving forward with plans to introduce a single-engine turboprop.
“We plan to have something to show people next year at this time,” Michael Thacker, Textron Aviation senior vice president for engineering, told Aviation Week during an interview here.
A team is dedicated to bring the turboprop to market.
The company has been talking with operators to understand the needs, Thacker said.
The goal is for the aircraft to have a range of more than 1,500 nm, fly at more than 280 kt. and be the best value in its class, he said.
The news won’t be a huge surprise, he admits.
In 2012, the former Hawker Beechcraft Corp.’s product development plan included a single-engine turboprop concept, company officials said at a press conference at the National Business Aviation Association Exhibition and Convention that year. The plan included the possibility of three new single turboprops.
Hawker Beechcraft had been gathering feedback on the first of the aircraft. The company’s customer base had long expressed an interest in a single-engine turboprop, but the company did not have the necessary resources to invest in its development.
Textron, Cessna Aircraft’s parent company, acquired Beechcraft after its emergence from bankruptcy, and has been investing in new products.
“We’re continuing to show our commitment to the market,” Thacker said.
In other news from AirVenture, Cessna announced an agreement with Zhoushan AVIC Joy Air General Air Co. for 20 Grand Caravan EX amphibian aircraft. Cessna expects to begin deliveries later this year out of its Cessna-AVIC Aircraft facility in China.
The joint venture between China and China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., CAIGA, includes assembly and delivery of Caravan utility turboprop aircraft for the Chinese market.
“The availability of the Cessna Grand Caravan EX amphibian aircraft in China has sparked a new segment in the aviation market as operators now have the ideal product to meet the demand for increases aerial sightseeing and charter tourist flights,” Kevin Wu, vice president of sales for the region, said in a statement.
Textron Aviation also announced that its Beechcraft King Air 250 turboprop upgraded with the Pro Line Fusion avionics system and new cabin enhancements received FAA type certification, which allows deliveries to begin during this quarter. The aircraft is making its North American debut at AirVenture.
The company announced the upgraded King Air 250 two months ago.
Certification for the Pro Line Fusion-equipped King Air 350i/ER is expected in the fourth quarter of this year, followed by the King Air C90GTx in the first half of 2016.
The Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion includes a full touchscreen flight display system, integrated touchscreen checklists, intuitive graphical touchscreen flight planning, full-multi-sensor flight management system and other features.
Textron Aviation also announced that it has selected McCauley Propeller Systems for its Cessna Grand Caravan EX, Cessna TTx and Beechcraft Baron.
McCauley is a Textron company.
The Grand Caravan EX will be equipped with McCauley’s four-blade aluminum propeller, which will become standard on the aircraft. The propeller increases payload by 15 lb., ground clearance by 2 in. and improves climb performance by 10%. Certification is expected in the third quarter of this year with deliveries to follow. It is also offered as an aftermarket product.
Cessna TTx customers will have the option of equipping their aircraft with the McCauley Blackmac Carbon series constant speed composite propeller. And the Beechcraft Baron will soon be equipped with the McCauley C512 aluminum propellers as standard equipment. The new propellers are 10 lb. lighter than the current installation, the company said. Deliveries of Barons equipped with the propeller will begin this quarter.