Blackhawk Modifications (Booth No. 1467) has reached the final stages of flight testing for its program to upgrade the Cessna Caravan with the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A engine. The new XP42A powerplant consists of the 850-shp engine bolted onto a newly designed cowl that Blackhawk claims to be “hyper efficient.” The conversion is in the process of getting approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and this is expected to be awarded shortly after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grants its supplemental type certificate.
According to Blackhawk, 40 percent of current Caravan orders are from Europe-based operators who desire substantially improved takeoff and climb capabilities and faster cruise speeds. Jim Allmon, the U.S. company’s president and CEO, told AIN, “Blackhawk offers more of what the customer bought the Caravan for to begin with: more power to get you safely into and out of remote locations and the speed to get you there faster.”
According to Allmon, Blackhawk has the largest non-OEM engine contract in force with Pratt & Whitney and sold more than 500 turboprops last year. Engines are priced based on the Pratt exchange program and credit is issued for time remaining to overhaul on core PT6A-114/A engines.
Blackhawk projects the upgrade will result in a 45-percent decrease in takeoff distance, a doubling of the rate of climb, a maximum cruise speed increase of almost 35 knots and a decrease in fuel burn at original Caravan power settings of 20 pounds per hour. The upgrade also includes AeroAcoustics’ APE III aircraft payload extender and short takeoff and landing capability for extended flexibility with greater than 300 pounds additional payload.