Plane & Pilot
Saturday, January 1, 2005

Cessna's All-New Stationair


Adding Garmin glass to the newest line of C-206s has reinvented the aircraft’s workhorse capabilities


Utility airplanes must answer to a different kind of owner. Unlike most personal-transportation machines that are dedicated to recreation or fun, utility models are most often working airplanes that must pay for themselves. " />

From the moment you’re off the blocks, it’s apparent that you’re driving nearly two tons down the taxiway. Taxi pressures are heavy and moving the Stationair on the ground demands the airline technique of breakaway thrust—push the power up to get the mass moving, then back off and let inertia move you down the taxiway. Even empty of fuel or payload, a typically equipped C-206 weighs in at nearly 2,400 pounds, so useful load is about 1,200 pounds. With a full 88 gallons aboard, that means that you’ll be relegated to a payload of only 672 pounds, which is fairly consistent with the unwritten rule that says that most general-aviation airplanes with full tanks can’t legally fly with more than 1⁄2 to 2⁄3 of the available seats occupied.

Like most of the utility airplanes, however, you can trade fuel pounds for paying pounds pretty much at will without major concern for the CG. Download fuel load to 50 gallons, two hours plus reserve, and cabin payload jumps to 900 pounds, a more reasonable number for a heavy lifter. Working Cessna 206 Stationairs carry things as often as people, and with five seats removed, payload might even approach 1,000 pounds.

The aft-right cargo doors are quite welcome for loading whatever will fit, but remember that the front seat makes do with a left side door only. Apparently, having the copilot door and cargo door on the right would compromise structural integrity.

The turbocharger allows the engine to develop full power all the way to 17,000 feet, so you can certainly expect the Lycoming engine to pull with a lot of enthusiasm at any reasonable density altitude, right up to the top of the highest mountain in the Lower 48 states. Unfortunately, no one has quite discovered a way to turbocharge the wings, so the Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair still suffers some climb loss at high altitude. Expect about 1,000 fpm from sea level at gross, more like 800 fpm at 10,000 feet. The service ceiling is listed at 27,000 feet, but there’s no evidence that any Cessna 206 has ever been there.

Almost all Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair missions often don’t demand high-altitude cruise operation or long range, but the airplane does quite reasonably well at mid-cruise weights. Specifically, flying at 3,300 pounds with the max cruise settings at 8,000 feet, you can expect about 145 knots of cruise speed. Ascend to 16,000 feet, and you’ll hustle along at nearly 160 knots of cruise speed. Cessna Aircraft Company suggests that the fastest cruise comes at 20,000 feet, where the airplane will clock 163 knots in exchange for a fuel burn of 19 gph. If your mission demands long range, you can climb to 16,000 feet, use 55% power, true 125 knots of cruise speed and expect to reach out and touch an airport that’s 650 nm away. If you need to operate the Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair into unimproved airstrips and remove the composite wheel fairings, you can expect to subtract five knots from all cruise figures.

With a full-flap stall speed of 54 knots and predictable stall characteristics, the Cessna Turbo Stationair makes a good airplane for abbreviated, if not super-short, runways. Even at full gross weight, the Cessna Turbo 206 Stationair can handle runways as short as 1,000 feet. Keep in mind, however, that it may take far more than 1,000 feet to leap back off the ground.

For more information, contact Cessna Aircraft Company at (800) 4-CESSNA or log on to www.cessna.com.

SPECS: 2005 Cessna Turbo Stationair



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