Inside Textron Aviation’s Industrial Design Studio in West Wichita, the interior of the company’s new high-wing, utility Cessna SkyCourier twin turboprop is taking shape.

There, engineers, industrial designers and craftsmen evaluate and review every detail. They are moving through five stages of the cabin’s development using new technology and new applications.

For the cabin’s development, designers and engineers began with a virtual prototype of the inside of the cockpit to review elements and the human factors involved in maintenance applications.

The company announced the clean-sheet aircraft during last year’s NBAA-BACE show. 

“The program is progressing very well,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice president of sales and marketing. “I’ve been really excited to see the feedback that we’ve gotten for the aircraft, internationally and domestically.”

The $5.5 million SkyCourier has been receiving positive reception from customers looking for a pure cargo aircraft and from those looking for a passenger aircraft designed for as many as 19 passengers. The company is also working on combi- and special mission versions, all to be built on the same production line.

“It really is a new space for us,” Scholl said. “It’s a unique space.”

Cessna has completed SkyCourier wind tunnel testing. First flight is planned for mid-2019 with certification in 2020. FedEx, which worked with Textron Aviation on its design to hold cargo containers, was the launch customer with an order for 50 with an option for 50 more.

SkyCourier will have a 72-ft. wingspan. The aircraft will be equipped with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC shp engines, and Garmin 1000 NXi avionics. It will have a range of up to 900 nm and a maximum speed of 200 kts.