FedEx Express and other members of Textron Aviation's Customer Advisory Board have been playing a crucial role in influencing the SkyCourier's design, including the materials used and the manufacturing process.
The aircraft is fitted with two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines that allow it to reach a maximum cruise speed of over 200 knots (230 mph/370 kph) and has a 1,035-mile (1,666-km) range.
It features a heavy-duty aluminum propeller, which was designed to improve the aircraft's performance while carrying massive loads. Speaking of the loads, the aircraft comes with a large door and cabin that were made to handle an impressive 6,000 lbs (2,720 kg) of payload capability.
The SkyCourier is also available in a 19-passenger configuration, which features big windows and two doors that allows passengers to board easily. Both variants include single-point pressure refueling, which provides faster turnaround times.
The first production unit rolled off the assembly line earlier this year at Textron's facility in Wichita, and in March, the twin-turboprop achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification. Now, the first unit has been delivered to FedEx Express, and it's ready to enter service.
"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 modernization program," said Scot Struminger, CEO and Executive Vice President of Aviation, FedEx Express.
FedEx has options for 50 more SkyCourier aircraft in addition to the initial fleet order.