Textron Aviation announced the delivery of the first production Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop to FedEx Express. The delivery ceremony was held on 09 May 2022 at its headquarters in Wichita, KS and marks a major milestone of the aircraft program since the clean-sheet design was announced in 2017.
This is the first of 50 freighter aircraft that global logistics firm FedEx Express ordered as the Cessna SkyCourier’s launch customer. The twin-engine large utility turboprop aircraft achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification in March 2022.
“FedEx took delivery of its first Cessna in the mid-1980s and the two companies have had a collaborative relationship over the four decades since,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “We’re thrilled to deliver this aircraft that will help FedEx serve its customers more efficiently as it is designed with the option to carry industry-standard prepacked cargo containers. We believe many other air freight, passenger and special mission operators also will benefit from the winning combination of low operating costs and unparalleled lift capacity that the new Cessna SkyCourier brings to the market.”
In addition to the initial fleet order, FedEx Express has options for 50 more SkyCourier aircraft. Members of the FedEx Express design and engineering teams participated in Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board to help shape the aircraft’s unique design, features and serviceability.
“For nearly 50 years, FedEx has been known for being flexible and innovative in finding solutions for our customers, and this aircraft will help us better serve small and medium markets where we aren’t able to operate our larger aircraft,” said Scot Struminger, CEO and Executive Vice President of Aviation, FedEx Express. “The SkyCourier will make us more efficient, now being able to move containerized and palletized freight for our customers. The result of four-and-a-half years of collaboration with Textron Aviation on this aircraft, FedEx Express is excited to add the Cessna 408 SkyCourier as part of our fleet modernization program.”
About the Cessna SkyCourier
The Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine, high-wing turboprop offers a combination of performance and lower operating costs for air freight, passenger and special mission operators. The aircraft fulfills a gap in the 19-seat / 6,000lb (2.7 tonnes) payload market segment which has not seen a new clean-sheet design in the category for over 30 years.
It is designed to allow customer operators to execute more operations day after day with efficiency. It can fly more trips without having to refuel with its unparalleled range and payload. The 19-passenger variant of the SkyCourier includes separate crew and passenger entries for smooth boarding, large baggage compartment as well as large cabin windows for natural light and views. Both configurations offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds, ice and rain protection, and a rugged landing gear to allow for remote location landings.
Textron Aviation has three SkyCourier test aircraft that accumulated more than 2,100 hours throughout the flight test program, which formally started with an inaugural flight in May 2020. It received its certification from the Federal Aviation Authority in mid-March 2022 – less than 5 years after the concept was announced at the year’s NBAA.
“Achieving FAA certification for the Cessna SkyCourier demonstrates the expertise and hard work of our employees, as well as Textron Aviation’s continued investment in providing solutions for our customers,” said Draper. “Our clean-sheet design brings to this segment what customers said they need: the ability to load, fly, unload and repeat with low operating costs and maximum cabin flexibility and efficiency. We expect the SkyCourier to be a workhorse of the fleet for FedEx and many other customers around the globe for decades to come.”
The aircraft is powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley Propeller C779, a heavy-duty and reliable 110-inch aluminium four-blade propeller, which is full feathering with reversible pitch, designed to enhance the performance of the aircraft while hauling large loads. The SkyCourier is operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics. It has a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 ktas and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range. The aircraft features a large door and a flat floor cabin, and the freighter version can hold up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of payload capability.
To learn more, visit https://cessna.txtav.com/skycourier