Textron Aviation rolled out the first production Cessna 408 SkyCourier for launch customer FedEx, the Wichita-based airframer announced today. This comes as the SkyCourier program's three test aircraft have logged more than 2,100 flight hours. FAA certification of the utility twin-turboprop is expected in the first half—approximately two years after the SkyCourier's first flight in May 2020.
FedEx has a firm order for 50 SkyCouriers, with options for 50 more, and expects to take three of the clean-sheet airplanes this year, followed by 12 each in 2023, 2024, and 2025, and 11 in 2026, according to a FedEx SEC filing.
“Today is a rewarding day for our employees, who have worked to design and build what I believe will become a legendary airplane for our company,” said Textron Aviation president and CEO Ron Draper. "The SkyCourier brings a combination of cabin flexibility, payload capability, performance, and low operating costs to the twin-engine utility segment. We look forward to this versatile aircraft entering the market very soon.”
The SkyCourier is powered by two 1,100-shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines driving 110-inch McCauley propellers. It also features a Garmin G1000 NXi flight deck.
Configurable for both cargo and commuter operations, the high-wing airplane is designed to carry a payload of up to 6,000 pounds with an 87-inch cargo door, a flat floor, and a nearly 70-inch tall and wide cabin to accept three standard LD3 air cargo containers. In a passenger configuration, it can seat 19 passengers, with a netted rear cabin area for luggage and equipment. It also will be available in a mixed passenger/cargo combination.