Textron Aviation has delivered the first Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop to FedEx Express.
FedEx Express is the launch customer for the Cessna SkyCourier, having ordered 50 of the freighter aircraft.
The clean-sheet 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 Textron Aviation’s president and CEO Ron Draper.
“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 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 FedEx Express’ CEO and executive vice president of aviation Scot Struminger. “The SkyCourier will make us more efficient, now being able to move containerised and palletised freight for our customers.”
The aircraft is powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley Propeller C779, a 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 6,000 pounds of payload capability.