Third Cessna SkyCourier Test Aircraft Makes First Flight

SkyCourier P2 first flight.
Credit: Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation’s third and final Cessna 408 SkyCourier test aircraft completed its first flight on Sept. 28 and will join the other two aircraft in the company’s flight test program. 

Combined, the three high-wing utility twin turboprops have accumulated 150 flight hours, the company says. The latest test aircraft along with the prototype are configured in a passenger variant. The second aircraft is configured as a freighter. 

The third test aircraft, designated P2, will be used to focus on avionics testing, flammable fluids testing and cold and hot weather testing in the climatic chamber at Eglin AFB, Florida. 

Its first flight was flown by pilots Todd Dafton and Caleb Quick, lasted 90 min. and reached a speed of 210 kt. and an altitude of 15,000 ft. 

The company will soon begin SkyCourier line production at its factory in Wichita as it moves closer to getting the aircraft into the hands of customers, said Chris Hearne, Textron Aviation senior vice president of engineering and programs. 

“The Cessna SkyCourier program continues progress through its milestones, and that’s a testament to the many great employees involved with this project,” Hearne said. 

First customer deliveries are planned for 2021.

The SkyCourier will be equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65 engines, Garmin G1000 GXi avionics and have a maximum cruise speed of up to 200 kt. and maximum range of 900 nm. It will include single-point pressure refueling as standard on the aircraft for faster turnarounds. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.