Cessna Planning a Six-seat Turboprop Single

 - November 18, 2010, 11:00 AM

Cessna is in the early stages of developing a new single-engine turboprop, but the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-powered airplane that spotters have seen flying around Wichita is not the prototype for the new airplane, according to Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton. That airplane, he said, is a testbed for technologies such as de-icing and environmental control systems. “The aircraft we are flying, while based on a Mustang fuselage, is only a technology demonstrator [two flights so far] and is not a precursor to anything,” a Cessna spokesman told AIN. Pelton confirmed that Cessna is seeking to fill the niche between the high-performance composite Corvalis piston single and the Mustang twinjet. A lot of step-up Corvalis pilots don’t want a twinjet, he said, but at the same time Cessna engineers haven’t been able to devise a configuration for a single-engine jet that would deliver the range and payload that buyers prefer. “We’re doing a single-engine turboprop,” Pelton said. “It’s a clean-sheet six-seat design.” Cessna does have internal milestones for development of the single-engine turboprop, he added, but those aren’t being revealed publicly. “It’s a natural for Cessna to fill that niche,” he said. “We absolutely have a product, and we’re telling our shareholders. We’ll have more new products out next year.”