Cessna tests new “Skycourier” and it’s actually not too terrible

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Doggzilla

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Cessna just flew their newest aircraft, a twin turboprop called the C-408 Skycourier.

It’s a twin PT6 turboprop, which is about as small as they get with maintaining good efficiency (any smaller turbine has horrible efficiency)

It’s actually very well sized for real world operations. As the single engine Caravan is about 30-50% too small for most purposes, but the large turboprops like SAABs and Q400s are 2-3 times too large.

 
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Hephaestus

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It's like a cessna version of the twin Otter... Which I'm pretty sure is still in production?

:popcorn:
 

Doggzilla

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It’s actually about 30% more powerful but half the range. It’s a short distance “final mile” aircraft.

Good for corporate service in rural areas. They can already get commercial flights to provincial airports, they only need the last few hundred miles to the field
 

Vigilant1

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It’s actually very well sized for real world operations. As the single engine Caravan is about 30-50% too small for most purposes . . .
No plane is the right size "for most purposes", whatever that means. The Caravan was the right size to sell over 2,600 of all variants to date. I hope Cessna's Twin Otter does well, too
 
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Hephaestus

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I hope it does well but it's not exactly a section of the market that's un-serviced. Between the 1900d and the twin otter - that's a tough end of the field to crack.

Maybe they're looking at the air ambulance side?
 

Tiger Tim

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I hope it does well but it's not exactly a section of the market that's un-serviced. Between the 1900d and the twin otter - that's a tough end of the field to crack.
In a previous job we always had an eye on fleet renewal/upgrade and it always seemed that a Twotter was way too expensive and a 1900 just wanted a bit too much runway (a late model Metro would have been even more hopeless). I assume the Skycourier would slot in nicely in the middle as I assume it’s optimized for 100-200 mile trips between 2500+ foot runways, cruising in the low teens.
 

Doggzilla

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Exactly. The 1900D is insufficient for rough fields, and the Twin otter has about half the useful load after fuel.

So they are getting twice the useful load for only 30% more fuel consumption.

Cessna may have a history of bad development decisions, but this isn’t one.
 

Doggzilla

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No plane is the right size "for most purposes", whatever that means. The Caravan was the right size to sell over 2,600 of all variants to date. I hope Cessna's Twin Otter does well, too
Well, it carries twice the cargo after fuel is considered, for less than 30% additional fuel consumption, and has sufficient range for 90%+ of short haul field operations.

Care to name another aircraft which has that wide of a capability?
 

Angusnofangus

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It's like a cessna version of the twin Otter... Which I'm pretty sure is still in production?

:popcorn:
I most certainly is!! It is being produced by Viking Air in North Saanich, BC. I retired out of there a couple of years ago. Viking also holds the type certificates for all of the deHavilland Canada aircraft, including the Q400.
 

Hephaestus

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Maybe I'm looking at it wrong but to me it gets back to that max type rating scenario... And that end of the business is notoriously penny pinching - a newcomer has a major uphill battle to get a bunch of pilots and first officers trained to even make inroads...
 

Turd Ferguson

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I hope it does well but it's not exactly a section of the market that's un-serviced. Between the 1900d and the twin otter - that's a tough end of the field to crack.

Maybe they're looking at the air ambulance side?
The Sky Courier was designed to haul a standard freight container for FedEx. The cabin dimensions were entirely dictated by that requirement. Second, they wanted to the plane to fit into Part 135 operating rules, which if I remember right is max 7500# payload for cargo. FedEx has wanted their freight containerized since the days I was flying a purple caravan - they hated bulk loading planes. The risk is being shared by the launch operator so it's a good deal for Cessna. Even better if they have other customers.

Just curious where is says they flew the plane? This looks like a ground run only.
 

Vigilant1

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The Sky Courier was designed to haul a standard freight container for FedEx. The cabin dimensions were entirely dictated by that requirement. Second, they wanted to the plane to fit into Part 135 operating rules, which if I remember right is max 7500# payload for cargo. FedEx has wanted their freight containerized since the days I was flying a purple caravan - they hated bulk loading planes. The risk is being shared by the launch operator so it's a good deal for Cessna. Even better if they have other customers.
>>That<< explanation makes sense, thanks. Any hints on how big the FedEx order will be?
 

plncraze

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What is impressive with Cessna's feat is that they have done a conservative design on a schedule. There are no "revolutionary ideas" on this thing. I believe it is still on schedule for certification. As Turd says it is a good deal for Cessna especially if there are other customers.
 

Vigilant1

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I know it's not relevant to this conversation, and I realize that form follows function, but I remember when Cessna used to make beautiful airplanes.
Yes, a polished Cessna 190 is beautiful.
But circumstances matter. Sometimes the prettiest plane in the world can be a filthy C-130 that will be taking you home. To FedEx, a plane that makes more money is beautiful.
 

Vigilant1

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50 initially with options for 50 more. After that FE will be a priority customer for any future purchases which just means they can cut in line if they need more.
Sounds like a great situation for both companies. If the deal also includes FedEx sharing operational cost info with Cessna, then Cessna will soon have some solid info to use in selling the plane more broadly. It all boils down to numbers: if costs and reliability/availability are good, they'll probably sell a lot. But they'll have a long way to go to match Caravan production.
 
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