The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued Textron with a type certificate for the Cessna SkyCourier. The high-wing twin-engined type is set to enter service with launch customer FedEx Express in the coming weeks.
A trio of SkyCouriers has accumulated more than 2,100 hours throughout the flight test programme, which formally started with an inaugural flight in May 2020. The company rolled out the first production unit of the SkyCourier earlier this year at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas.
Ron Draper, Textron Aviation president and CEO, said: “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. 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.”
Launch customer FedEx Express has agreed to an initial order for 50 cargo aircraft and options to double this number. FedEx Express participated in Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board along with other fleet operators to help shape the aircraft’s design, features and serviceability.
The launch customer influenced the type’s design stipulating it should be able to carry three LD3/AKE cargo containers – an industry standard unit load device. A passenger variant of the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-powered commuter – able to transport up to 19 passengers up to 900nm – has also been offered.