FedEx has taken delivery of the first Cessna SkyCourier. The package carrier has placed an initial order for 50 of the planes, which will serve FedEx’s nationwide delivery system. Over the years the company has taken delivery of hundreds of single-engine Cessna Caravans, which it will continue to use. The SkyCourier is more airplane than the Model 208 Caravan in just about every way. With a pair of 1,100-shp Pratt & Whitney PT-65SC turboprop engines, the SkyCourier, designated the Model 408 (twice the Caravan) can cruise at around 200 knots with around 6,000 pounds of payload, along with the ability to carry palletized cargo, which the Caravan cannot. And with a range of up to 900 nm, the SkyCourier opens up longer routes, too.
Developed in concert with FedEx over a period of years, the SkyCourier is about as close to a made to order plane in civilian manufacturing as we know of. That will not, we predict, prevent the plane from becoming a popular platform for other cargo haulers, as well as for short-haul charter and airline customers.