Last month, Textron Aviation affixed the wings to the fuselage of the first prototype SkyCourier. The plane is to have an adapted Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite. Photo: Textron Aviation
Last month, Textron Aviation mated the wings to the fuselage of the first Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop prototype aircraft, which has a Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite adapted for the SkyCourier.
The Cessna Caravan and Grand Caravan utility aircraft also have the G1000 NXi configuration for their missions serving regional airlines, charter operators and cargo carriers.
"The G1000 NXi suite on the Cessna SkyCourier differs slightly from the Caravan/Grand Caravan, as the large cockpit with a wide instrument panel [of the SkyCourier] allows us to install the larger 12 inch displays, which in turn allows for a full ‘dial’ display for engine parameters, etc.," Duane Frazier, a spokesman for Textron Aviation, wrote in an email on Jan. 8th to Avionics International.
"The G1000 NXi is a good fit for the Cessna SkyCourier, as there is commonality with the Caravan and Grand Caravan models, and pilots will find it an easy transition from other aircraft that they may well have been flying," Frazier wrote. "The choice is in keeping with the ‘keep it simple’ approach taken on this aircraft which keeps the price point low, as well as providing low maintenance costs."
Chris Hearne, senior vice president of programs and engineering for Textron Aviation, said in statement that the"rugged, high-wing" clean-sheet design of the SkyCourier "will give the aircraft excellent operational and performance characteristics for its diverse mission profile.”
An additional five flight and ground test articles are planned, and avionics ground testing/landing gear testing of the SkyCourier continues, Textron Aviation said, as the company plans for first flight of the plane this year. The aircraft is to have a maximum cruise speed of 200 knots and a maximum range of 900 nautical miles, and both freighter and passenger variants are to have single-point pressure refueling to allow quicker turnarounds.
Designed for high utilization and performance and lower operating costs, the SkyCourier "will be offered in various configurations including freighter, passenger or a combination, all based on a common platform with a 6,000-pound payload," according to Textron Aviation. "The freighter configuration is designed to accommodate three standard air cargo containers (LD3) while the passenger variant carries up to 19 passengers and baggage."