Textron Aviation held a rollout celebration last week for the 2,500th Caravan utility turboprop single at its Wichita headquarters. Alaska charter operator Bering Air was on hand for the celebration, and this milestone Grand Caravan EX is the seventh of a firm order for eight for the operator, not including options.
At the rollout ceremony, Bering Air president Jim Rowe announced that the company is turning one of the options into a firm order for a ninth aircraft. Bering Air is headquartered in Nome, Alaska, and is the sole means of transportation for some 9,000 people who live in 32 villages in a roadless area the size of New England. Bering Air operates 30 aircraft and employs 120 people.
After this 2,500th Caravan is finished at the Cessna factory, it will be flown to Anchorage, Alaska, for upgrades such as special flooring, stainless-steel doorposts, mud flaps, a satellite tracking system, passenger briefing system and FM radio. Bering Air used to have a single-point refueling system installed in Anchorage, but with the latest order for the EX model, the manufacturer agreed to include this system. Bering Air’s original eight Caravans have flown north of 120,000 hours. The first one, bought in 1994, is still flying and has more than 22,000 hours in its logbooks. “You’ve made a great product,” Rowe told the Textron Aviation employees gathered to celebrate the rollout.