Cessna SkyCourier 408’s third and final test aircraft (P2) completed its maiden flight on September 28, 2020, pushing the turboprop’s flight test program to a total of 150 flight hours. The aircraft’s line production will soon commence, with 50 cargo variants going to FedEx shortly after launch.
The P2’s first flight lasted for 90 minutes, during which it reached a speed of 210 knots (390km/h) at an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,500 m), the company’s press release said. Further testing with the same prototype will include avionics and flammable fluids testing, as well as cold and hot weather testing in the Eglin Air Force climatic chamber.
The company said it would “soon be starting line production in Wichita as (it) moves closer to getting Cessna SkyrCourier into the hands of (its) customers.”
The SkyCourier 408 freighter-passenger turboprop was first announced in November 2017 and immediately received attention from FedEx. The delivery service juggernaut signed on the program as a launch customer for up to 100 aircraft, with an initial order of 50 cargo variants and options for 50 more.
The new aircraft would join the FedEx’s regional ATR 42/72 fleet of 42 freighters it currently operates.
The SkyCourier’s freighter comes with a maximum cargo payload of 6,000 lbs and will be able to cruise at 200 knots (370 km/h) when loaded. The aircraft will have a max range of 900 nm (1,667 km), making it an absolute marvel for regional quick delivery services.