Textron is promoting the Cessna Denali at LABACE. Development of the $4.8 million single-engine turboprop was disclosed in 2015 and officially launched at the EAA AirVenture show at Oshkosh that year. At the same show a year later, the airframer announced the aircraft's name. Components of the aircraft, including the fuel system, are undergoing static and fatigue tests and a first flight is scheduled for the third quarter of next year, with certification in 2019. With its high performance, tractabilty and the ability to operate from short and unimproved strips, the type is expected to attract strong interest in Latin America. TAM Aviação Executiva is the local sales representative in Brazil.
Designed to provide a high-speed, cost-efficient transport for up to 12 people, the Denali will compete with existing types such as the Daher-Socata TBM and Pilatus PC-12, plus other types currently in development. The move by Textron to enter the market with a new design underlines the growing importance of the single-engine turboprop (SET) sector.
Textron is predicting a 285-knot (519-km/h) maximum cruising speed for the Denali, 31,000-foot (9450-m) maximum operating altitude and a range with four passengers of 1,600 nm (2,963 km). The aircraft has rugged landing gear and high-lift devices to offer the ability to operate from unimproved runways.
Power is to be provided by General Electric’s new Advanced Turboprop (ATP), for which the Denali is the launch platform. GE has employed the latest technology derived from across its powerplant range, including that from the HF120 engine that powers the HondaJet, to create a family of turboprops in the 1,000- to 2,000-shp range.
In the Denali application, the engine will develop 1,240 shp, with a FADEC system that introduces dynamic control over both engine and propeller to optimize performance and minimize fuel burn. The ATP has a counter-rotating, two-shaft, reverse-flow configuration to reduce size and increase power. The engine maker has used 3D aerodynamic design in the development of the compressor to increase the pressure ratio to 16:1, comparing favorably with the typical current figure of around 10:1. The ATP will drive a McCauley Blackmac five-blade composite propeller. Measuring 102 inches (2.59 m) in diameter, the propeller has reversible pitch and electric ice protection.
Cessna has selected a Garmin G3000-based avionics system that has three 14-inch wide-screen LCD displays and two touchscreen control panels. Synthetic vision technology, dual Garmin flight management system with WAAS-enabled GPS receivers, dual transponders with ADS-B In/Out capability, weather radar, terrain avoidance warning and TCAS I are among the standard avionics items. Options include TCAS II, cockpit voice/flight data recorders, lightning detection and enhanced vision system. A dual-channel digital autopilot maximizes performance while reducing pilot workload. Engine control is by single-lever operation.
The Denali has a flat-floor cabin that is the widest in its class. In executive layout the aircraft can be configured with six seats, including four facing each other in club arrangement, with a refreshment station at the front of the cabin. Alternatively, a high-density layout would typically have nine forward-facing seats. A belted lavatory at the rear of the cabin is an option. The Denali has a 53- x 51-inch (1.35- x 1.3-m) aft cargo door for easy loading.