Cessna, which once again proved that it’s pretty good at keeping secret projects secret, unveiled this week a clean-sheet turboprop twin that targets small freight and short-haul passenger service. The 19-seat plane will cruise at around 200 knots with a maximum range of 900 nm and a typical freight-hauling range of 400 nm.
The launch customer, drumroll please, is FedEx, which helped create the Cessna Caravan a few decades ago. The large package delivery company put in an order for 100 of the new high-wing planes, which were designed to accommodate exactly three standard-sized freight containers.
As far as engines are concerned, we were fully expecting to see the emerging GE Advanced Turboprop engines on the SkyCourier, but instead Cessna (with, it’s safe to assume) input from FedEx opted for the time-tested PT-6. It probably doesn’t hurt that FedEx has a large existing network of maintenance facilities with long expertise in the care of the PT-6, which is the engine in the single-engine Caravan, of course.
Cessna hasn’t quoted a price for the new model yet, which it expects to being delivering to FedEx starting in 2020.
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