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Heavy-Duty Cessna SkyCourier Boasts Massive Payload and Range, Ready for FedEx

Until drones take over the entire transportation in the sky, giants such as FedEx are still relying on powerful cargo airplanes that provide an impressive range while also being cost-effective. It’s been two years in the making, but the first Cessna SkyCourier is gearing up to take to the sky this year.
Textron rolled out the first production unit of the Cessna SkyCourier 8 photos
Photo: Textron Aviation
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Two years ago, the SkyCourier was conducting its first flight. Three aircraft have accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours since then, and now the first production unit was rolled out. FedEx Express, which has already ordered 50 of these cargo aircraft, with an option for 50 more, will be getting its first airplanes this year, following certification.

Textron Aviation representatives say that the SkyCourier has the potential to become a legendary aircraft for the company and the Cessna brand. This twin-engine high-wing turboprop boasts an impressive payload capacity of up to 6,000 lbs (2,720 kg), in combination with a range of 900 nautical miles (1,035 miles/1,666 km) and a maximum speed of over 200 knots (230 mph/370 kph).

This performance is possible thanks to two wing-mounted Pratt & Whitney PT6A-65SC turboprop engines, together with a heavy-duty four-blade propeller, specifically designed to increase performance during the transportation of heavy loads. Designed to become a real workhorse, the SkyCourier has was it takes for fully-loaded, high-frequency cargo operations. Plus, the platform is versatile enough for a 19-passenger configuration as well, with large cabin windows.

In addition to its impressive capabilities, this new Cessna cargo aircraft is also innovative in terms of manufacturing technologies. One of these is monolithic machining, which was used for the entire airframe, where the main assemblies are milled from one piece of metal instead of multiple smaller ones. This makes assembly easier and more precise. Plus, for future easier maintenance, the aircraft was built with quick access inspection points.

The heavy-duty SkyCourier is expected to enter into service with FedEx Express later this year.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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