The Cessna Skycourier parked at dusk.
Photo Credit: Textron

Two Prestigious Awards Given to Cessna SkyCourier & Textron Personnel

LONDON – Two of aviation’s most recognised aviation achievements – the Aviation Week Network and the James McDonnell Team Achievement Award – have been awarded to the Cessna SkyCourier. 

The Cessna SkyCourier has recently been recognized with two prestigious aviation awards. The Aviation Week Network Laureate Award for Business Aviation and the James McDonnell Team Achievement Award from the Society of Flight Test Engineers were recently bestowed and presented to the Textron Aviation Cessna SkyCourier teams. 

Senior vice president of Engineering Chris Hearne stated that without hard work from Textron’s employees, this will not be possible.

He said: “It continues to be my privilege to lead this impressive team, as they’ve shown relentless determination, expertise, and hard work in bringing a new, innovative product to the market. This aircraft will have a significant impact on the industry for decades to come.”

Laureate Award by Aviation Week Network 


The Laureate Award by Aviation Week Network recognizes the outstanding achievements of Textron personnel working in the realms of corporate aviation, especially those who have contributed greatly to this discipline over the past months. 

The boom in E-Commerce and cargo


The pandemic may have hindered growth in passenger traffic, but certainly, rapid growth in e-commerce and online transactions splurged exponentially. This has created a temporary shortage in the capacity of air freight.

The SkyCourier, intended for carrying air freight has seen a significant increase in demand. Originally developed and designed with input from FedEx Express, the SkyCourier has been tapped by many cargo airlines to operate the type.

In fact, the SkyCourier itself is one of the very few clean-sheet aircraft designs in this aircraft category in decades. 

At the awards


Chris Hearne Senior vice president of Engineering, director of Engineering and Programs Ab Dirkzwager, project engineer Darrel Hornbaker and program manager Miranda Konowitz travelled to Washington, D.C., to receive the award at Aviation Week’s 65th Annual Laureate Awards banquet on November 3, 2022.

James McDonnell Award


This James McDonnell Team Achievement Award was given to the SkyCourier program by the Society of Flight Test Engineers for the team’s work in building this SkyCourier from scratch or as known as ‘clean-sheet’ aircraft design status, to hit the certification status.

The award recognises:  “a team that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of flight testing through the application of innovative technology or operational procedures.”

About the Cessna 408 SkyCourier 


The  Cessna 408 SkyCourier is a versatile aircraft, purposely built for air freight and has caught much attention from carriers. The aircraft could also be configured into a utility and a passenger configuration, with possibilities of up to 19 seats.

The aircraft itself is a twin-turboprop, high-wing aircraft, with a cruise speed of up to 210 knots with a flying range of 715 kilometres. 

The plane was launched in 2017 with 50 firm orders from FedEx Express and conducted its first maiden flight on May 2020. On March 11, the aircraft delivered its first-ever aircraft to FedEx.

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