Textron Aviation announced the first delivery of the Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop to FedEx Express. This is the first of 50 freighter aircraft that global logistics firm FedEx Express ordered as the Cessna SkyCourier’s launch customer. The clean-sheet aircraft achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification in March 2022.
“FedEx took delivery of its first Cessna in the mid-1980s and the two companies have had a collaborative relationship over the four decades since,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “We’re thrilled to deliver this aircraft that will help FedEx serve its customers more efficiently as it is designed with the option to carry industry-standard prepacked cargo containers. We believe many other air freight, passenger and special mission operators also will benefit from the winning combination of low operating costs and unparalleled lift capacity that the new Cessna SkyCourier brings to the market.”
In addition to the initial fleet order, FedEx Express has options for 50 more SkyCourier aircraft. Members of the FedEx Express design and engineering teams participated in Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board to help shape the aircraft’s design, features and serviceability.
“For nearly 50 years, FedEx has been known for being flexible and innovative in finding solutions for our customers, and this aircraft will help us better serve small and medium markets where we aren’t able to operate our larger aircraft,” said Scot Struminger, CEO and Executive Vice President of Aviation, FedEx Express. “The SkyCourier will make us more efficient, now being able to move containerised and palletised freight for our customers. The result of four-and-a-half years of collaboration with Textron Aviation on this aircraft, FedEx Express is excited to add the Cessna 408 SkyCourier as part of our fleet modernisation program,” Struminger added.
The Cessna SkyCourier twin-engine, high-wing turboprop offers a combination of performance and lower operating costs for air freight, passenger and special mission operators. In addition to the freighter version, there is a 19-passenger variant of the SkyCourier that includes separate crew and passenger entries for smooth boarding, as well as large cabin windows for natural light and views. Both configurations offer single-point pressure refuelling to enable faster turnarounds.
The aircraft is powered by two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley Propeller C779, a heavy-duty and reliable 110-inch aluminum four-blade propeller, which is full feathering with reversible pitch, designed to enhance the performance of the aircraft while hauling large loads. The SkyCourier is operated with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics. It has a maximum cruise speed of more than 200 ktas and a 900 nautical-mile maximum range. The aircraft features a large door and a flat floor cabin, and the freighter version can hold up to three LD3 shipping containers with an impressive 6,000 pounds of payload capability.
Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 achieves FAA certification, begins deliveries
Textron Aviation has achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification for the Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 business jet and delivered the first customer aircraft to a longtime Citation operator in the Midwest US.
“Loyal Citation customers inspire us to continually invest in bringing the latest design and technology to our product line,” said Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president, Sales and Flight Ops. “This fresh approach to our popular 560XL series includes comfort and productivity upgrades requested by our customers, yet retains the model’s combination of performance and efficiencies that offers midsize jet features at a smaller jet operating cost.”
The Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 is the latest model of the Citation 560XL midsize business jet series, which began with the introduction of the Citation Excel in 1998. More than 1,000 560XLs have been delivered throughout the past 25 years. Business owners, fractional owners and charter operators have consistently chosen the Citation 560XL series more than any other aircraft in the light midsize category.
Textron Aviation first unveiled plans for the Citation XLS Gen2 during the October 2021 National Business Aviation Association – Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, representing a significant commitment from Textron Aviation to enhance and redesign aircraft around customer needs. Shaped by extensive customer feedback, the upgrades focus on technology and design.
Among the XLS Gen2 updates are a new lighted airstair door to elevate the aircraft’s ramp presence, the addition of an entry curtain for inclement weather protection on the ground and improved cabin acoustics in flight, and improved accent lighting and elegant styling and materials throughout the interior. A new pedestal seat design enhances passenger comfort with individual controls, new styling and optional quilting, while the forward couch features an optional fold-down capability, which allows passengers to access more baggage in flight.
In addition to these modern design elements, the XLS Gen2 also features a state-of-the-art intuitive wireless cabin management system with a touchscreen moving map monitor, wireless smart phone charging, USB charging ports at each cabin seat and optional Bongiovi Immersive speaker-less sound system.
The XLS Gen2 equips operators with speeds of up to 441 knots (817 kilometres/ hour) with a maximum range of 2,100 nautical miles (3,889 kilometres), a takeoff field length of 3,600 feet (1,097 meters) and climbs to 45,000 feet (13,716 meters) in 30 minutes. While maintaining range and takeoff field length, the XLS Gen2 also includes increased payload capabilities and Stage 5 maximum noise level requirements.