Pi­lot Notes

Pilot - - CONTENTS -

De­nali de­vel­op­ment, elec­tric air rac­ing, EASA GFC 500 ap­proval

The pro­to­type Cessna De­nali was near­ing com­ple­tion in May, along with two fur­ther flight test air­craft and three ground test air­frames. The pro­to­type and first two pro­duc­tion-con­form­ing air­craft will be used in the flight test pro­gramme sched­uled to be­gin later this year, while the ground test air­frames will be used for static and fa­tigue tests, and cabin in­te­rior de­vel­op­ment and test­ing.

Cessna has also re­cently com­pleted a De­nali ‘iron bird’ full sys­tems sim­u­la­tor test rig that in­cor­po­rates the air­craft’s avion­ics, elec­tri­cal and en­gine con­trol sys­tems in a frame­work that makes them easy to ac­cess dur­ing test­ing. At its Prague fa­cil­ity en­gine sup­plier GE has com­pleted more than 1,000 hours of test­ing the De­nali’s new 1,300shp Cat­a­lyst en­gine and 105in di­am­e­ter Mccauley com­pos­ite pro­pel­ler, achiev­ing full power and max­i­mum rpm. En­gine and pro­pel­ler demon­strated the full range of pitch us­ing a FADEC with in­te­grated pro­pel­ler con­trol.

“The re­sult of the work we are do­ing now in de­sign, pro­duc­tion and test­ing is go­ing to pro­vide a ma­ture con­fig­u­ra­tion that will help us move through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and flight test­ing, ul­ti­mately bring­ing a proven air­craft to the mar­ket,” said Chris Hearne, Cessna Se­nior VicePres­i­dent, En­gi­neer­ing. “The De­nali is be­ing de­signed and built to out­per­form the com­pe­ti­tion in ca­pa­bil­ity, pi­lot in­ter­face, cabin ex­pe­ri­ence and to­tal own­er­ship costs. This new tur­bo­prop en­gine de­sign will give it a num­ber of key ad­van­tages over other air­craft in this class, and we are pleased to say that test en­gine per­for­mance is meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing per­for­mance ex­pec­ta­tions. New tech­nol­ogy al­lows for a much longer TBO, qui­eter op­er­a­tion and, be­cause of the first-ever dig­i­tal en­gine and pro­pel­ler con­trol, it will re­duce pi­lot work­load and have greater fuel ef­fi­ciency than sim­i­lar air­craft in its class.”

Mean­while, Cessna has be­gun assem­bly of the pro­to­type Sky­courier twin util­ity tur­bo­prop and a fur­ther five flight and ground test air­frames. En­durance and func­tional test­ing for the new Mccauley 110in di­am­e­ter pro­pel­ler con­sists of nearly 150 hours of op­er­a­tion and in­cludes a va­ri­ety of sim­u­lated flight pro­files, driven by the air­craft’s 1,100shp Pratt & Whit­ney Canada WC PT6A-65B en­gine mounted on a test stand. Fuel sys­tem and nose­wheel leg drop tests are also un­der way.

“We are build­ing this air­craft with the flex­i­bil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity needed for a va­ri­ety of high­uti­liza­tion op­er­a­tions in­clud­ing cargo, pas­sen­ger or spe­cial mis­sions, and we are ex­cited that the cus­tomers and the mar­ket are re­spond­ing pos­i­tively to its ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” reports Chris Hearne.

The Sky­courier will be of­fered in var­i­ous con­fig­u­ra­tions in­clud­ing cargo, pas­sen­ger or a com­bi­na­tion of both, all based on a com­mon air­frame. The cargo con­fig­u­ra­tion is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date three stan­dard LD3 air cargo con­tain­ers with a pay­load of up to 6,000 lb, while in pas­sen­ger con­fig­u­ra­tion it can be out­fit­ted with up to nine­teen seats. Launch cus­tomer Fedex Ex­press has placed an ini­tial fleet or­der for fifty car­go­con­fig­ured Sky­couri­ers, with op­tions for fifty more.

ABOVE: Cessna De­nali flight test­ing will start later in 2019...

BE­LOW: ... while fifty Sky­couri­ers have al­ready been or­dered

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