LONDON – American manufacturing giant Textron announced that a gravel kit will now be an option for its latest aircraft, the Cessna SkyCourier. The SkyCourier is the latest twin-engine, large utility aircraft of Textron aviation.
This improves the functionality of the aircraft for operations beyond ‘normal’ conditions, i.e unpaved or rugged terrains and runways.
According to Textron, the first handovers of the modified SkyCourier will be done in late February. The SkyCourier is one of the latest clean sheet designs of Textron, which in March 2022, received the type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president of Sales and Flight Operations said: “Cessna aircraft have been moving people and critically-needed goods in and out of remote areas for decades.”
“This new capability allows SkyCourier customers to operate in some of the world’s most demanding environments.”
The new kit will greatly expand the mission capability of the SkyCourier. Lannie furthered: “The addition of this new gravel kit greatly enhances the already rugged reliability of the SkyCourier.”
The gravel kit available as an option for its customer expands the market base of traditional Cessna Caravan users or possible prospects of the SkyCourier.
These missions include government agencies, law enforcement and militaries, air ambulance operators, freight hauliers, corporations and humanitarian organizations.
No matter the task and the location, the SkyCourier can fly anywhere, ranging from the Canadian Rockies, for cargo missions to the dirt strips of the Congo for humanitarian relief missions.
The gravel kit is simply a brush or a fender to cover the wheels to prevent dirt, debris or rocks from hitting the underbelly or the engines of the SkyCourier.
Where are we expecting the see the modification in operation?
Operations can span regular commercial operators as well as humanitarian, disaster relief, and medical evacuation cargo (supply line deliveries) as this allows the aircraft to access more significant remote areas. These areas include Australia, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Sub-Saharan Africa and Congo.
Cessna SkyCourier – A replacement for the Caravan?
The SkyCourier is mounted with two engines, powered by Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines and features the McCauley propeller C779, and is categorised as a high-wing turboprop.
These features allow for increasing its performance while suppressing additional costs, making the aircraft a feasible option for airlines, freight operators and individuals.
Moreover, the SkyCourier seats up to 19 passengers compared to 14 passengers compared to a standard Cessna Caravan configuration. Its cabin length and width are naturally wider than its supposed successor.
The SkyCourier can be perceived as the natural successor to the Caravan, but its greater seating capacity and a twin-engine, make it difficult to question the statement after all.
The largest difference, especially for passenger configuration, is that crew and passenger board at two different points, which ensures a seamless boarding process, a feature that is non-existent on the Caravan.
Time will tell whether the new clean-sheet-designed aircraft will be a true successor to the legendary Caravan or simply a complementary product.