The prototype of Textron Aviation’s recently re-branded Beechcraft Denali successfully completed initial runs of its new GE Aviation Catalyst engine, the Wichita airframer announced today, moving the clean-sheet turboprop single closer to its first flight by the end of the year. Taking place at Textron Aviation’s west campus at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport, the engine runs verified the functionality of the airplane’s fuel system and engine, as well as avionics and electrical systems interfaces.
Meanwhile, GE Aviation has completed more than 2,450 hours of Catalyst ground testing and is preparing for the first flight on its Beechcraft King Air flying testbed. Capable of operating on sustainable aviation fuel and with less fuel burn than older turboprops, the 1,300-shp engine features Fadec and trend monitoring, which will provide on-condition maintenance with no required mid-life hot section inspection.
Two other flight-test Denalis are in development and three additional ground articles will be used for airframe static and fatigue testing, as well as cabin interior development testing. Denali certification is expected in 2023.
“These successful engine runs are a significant step toward the upcoming inaugural flight for the Beechcraft Denali, and they are a testament to the determination and collaboration from both the Textron Aviation and GE Aviation teams,” said Textron Aviation senior v-p of engineering Chris Hearne.