Textron Aviation is nearing completion of its Cessna Denali prototype along with two flight test and three ground test articles.

First flight of the turboprop single is expected later this year.

The prototype and first two production conforming aircraft will be used in the flight test program, also set to begin this year. Three ground test articles will be used for airframe static and fatigue testing and for cabin interior development and testing.

“The Denali is being designed and built to outperform the competition in capability, pilot interface, cabin experience and total ownership costs,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president of engineering.

The company also recently completed component integration for the Denali “iron bird,” which will play an important role in testing the Denali’s Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), which controls engine power and propeller pitch with one lever.

GE Aviation says it’s achieved full power and max RPM with the new 1300-shp Catalyst engine and 105-in. McCauley composite propeller at its facility in Prague. GE Aviation (Booth R115) has completed more than 1,000 hr. of testing on three test articles.

Denali is expected to burn 15% less fuel than its competition.

“This new turboprop engine design will give the Denali a number of key advantages over other aircraft,” Hearne said. “New technology allows for a much longer time between overhaul, quieter operation, and because of the first-ever digital engine and propeller control, it will reduce pilot workload and have greater fuel efficiency than similar aircraft in its class.”

Denali can be converted between passenger and cargo configurations will have a range of 1,600 nm with four passengers, hold eight-to-11 occupants, have a maximum cruise speed of 285 kts. and a digital pressurization system that maintains 6,130 ft. cabin altitude at a service ceiling of 31,000 ft.

Textron Aviation announced the Denali at Oshkosh in 2015.