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

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Doggzilla

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I did the math more accurate and I was a bit off, but it’s still impressively higher performance than even the best twin otter.

The otter has a maximum payload of 3000lbs at 400 miles, at a speed of 210mph.

The Skycourier carries 5000 at 400 miles, at 230. But at a power setting 30% higher.

Assuming the engines haven’t had any efficiency upgrades from previous variants, that’s roughly 35% more efficient per pound at 10% faster speed.

And roughly the same price.

Definitely lots of potential. I would be surprised if this wasn’t widely adopted.
 

Wild Bill

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First thing I thought of when I read this thread was the Shorts 330
It’s in a similar configuration with PT6 engines and a slightly longer wing.
I don’t know the difference in load hauling abilities, but at a glance they look very similar.
I’ve always thought that the short looks cool for a freighter. Has a unique cockpit view.
 

Doggzilla

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They’re almost identical except the Cessna is 20mph faster. So still at least 10% more efficient.

Not sure if it can take the containers though. Even though some variants had a cargo ramp, that doesn’t mean it had the proper cabin height.
 

Angusnofangus

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First thing I thought of when I read this thread was the Shorts 330
It’s in a similar configuration with PT6 engines and a slightly longer wing.
I don’t know the difference in load hauling abilities, but at a glance they look very similar.
I’ve always thought that the short looks cool for a freighter. Has a unique cockpit view.
In the late 90's I worked for a cargo carrier that used Shorts 330's and 360's. Was installing systems by which they could carry containers. I think they ultimately worked out well.
 

TFF

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I wonder if there might be a push for FedEx to dump the Caravans and ATRs and consolidate to one type. I have a friend that had a double engine failure in one of the ATRs. They are pretty crusty.
 

Angusnofangus

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Looks like a bit bigger than Twin Otter 400.


Looks to be a bit boxier that Twin Otter. In order to accommodate containers I'm sure. Same number of passengers in that configuration, 19. 19 in a Twin Otter is cramped, probably better in the Cessna.
 

TFF

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My friend above saw it last week in the hangar at Beech field. He said it was definitely designed around cargo cans.
 

Victor Bravo

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This all makes sense to me, since many companies produce executive transports, corporate jets, etc. Cessna has several. But new-age cargo-specific airplanes made to transport the types of cargo in today's FedEx/Amazon/UPS environment are far fewer. I have no personal experience or knowledge about these types of operations, but the Caravan worked well for FedEx and other operators - and that was before Amazon and however many Amazon-wannabee 1-to-2-day delivery models came into the picture. I wonder if Amazon could incorporate this type of aircraft into their system to reduce delivery times ?
 

Tiger Tim

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I wonder if Amazon could incorporate this type of aircraft into their system to reduce delivery times ?
Absolutely. Figure the 747 flies from China to LAX overnight then the cans all get re-loaded into Skycouriers to get dropped off in San-this and Las-that by noon, then into trucks for home delivery by dinner time.
 

Vigilant1

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I wonder if there might be a push for FedEx to dump the Caravans and ATRs and consolidate to one type. I have a friend that had a double engine failure in one of the ATRs. They are pretty crusty.
Consolidation into one type, or maybe also later a version with four PT6s (looking a bit like a simpler, lighter Dash 7) that can carry 7-8 cans. A four engine aircraft would burn more fuel than a twin (with bigger engines, like an ATR), but if FedEx could standardize on just one type of turboprop engine they would save some money with that (fewer spares needed in the system, etc).

Separately, I wonder if/when passenger turboprops will take over from the regional jets for sub-400 NM trips. Fuel won't be cheap forever, and passengers have proven they are price sensitive. I'll bet they'd stay in the sardine can for an extra hour to save $50. I would.
 
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Turd Ferguson

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I wonder if Amazon could incorporate this type of aircraft into their system to reduce delivery times ?
I think Amazon's grand plan is to use UAV's for delivery from the local fulfillment center to customer's door step....once FAA gives the green light to UAV stuff.

Amazon cargo is currently done by contracting with cargo air carriers that have the planes and operating certificate.
 

Turd Ferguson

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I wonder if there might be a push for FedEx to dump the Caravans and ATRs and consolidate to one type.
Consolidation into one type, or maybe also later a version with four PT6s (looking a bit like a simpler, lighter Dash 7) that can carry 7-8 cans.
FedEx recently (~2ish yrs ago) purchased 50 ATR-72 600F's so ATR's will be part of the feeder lift for many years. The first "B" model Caravan they took delivery of (SN-2) is still flying the line and has reached the ripe old age of 38. It had the nickname "gray beard" when I was flying it >20 yrs ago. Those are not going anywhere.
I think the proper amount of needed lift takes precedence over a common fleet type and the feeder lift is somewhat controlled by a labor contract so ya do what ya gotta do.
 

Doggzilla

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Consolidation into one type, or maybe also later a version with four PT6s (looking a bit like a simpler, lighter Dash 7) that can carry 7-8 cans. A four engine aircraft would burn more fuel than a twin (with bigger engines, like an ATR), but if FedEx could standardize on just one type of turboprop engine they would save some money with that (fewer spares needed in the system, etc).

Separately, I wonder if/when passenger turboprops will take over from the regional jets for sub-400 NM trips. Fuel won't be cheap forever, and passengers have proven they are price sensitive. I'll bet they'd stay in the sardine can for an extra hour to save $50. I would.
There was actually a successful airline that did this for decades in Europe. It’s was called “Flybe”.

Turboprops actually cost half as much as jets per seat mile. So they had extremely impressive prices and could operate out of otherwise unprofitable airports.

They went under because it’s operating loans were in dollars but it’s income was in local currency. When the local currencies all dropped compared to the dollar they went bankrupt.

So it is a feasible business model.
 

Riggerrob

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Cessnaa’s New Skycourier is designed to carry 3 standard LD3 baggage containers: 79” long by 64” high by 60.4” wide (200.7 cm long by 162.6 cm high by 153.4 wide) with one corner loped off on the diagonal.

That makes for a smaller cabin cross-section than a Shorts Skyvan (roughly 2 metres by 2 metres) but still bigger than a Twin Otter. Cessna Caravan cabin cross-section is roughly the same as a Twin Otter: too low to stand fully upright.
The 19 seat limit is set by the need to carry cabin crew (stewardesses) with 20 or more passengers.

You can be sure that the latest version of P&WC PT6A engine is far more fuel efficient than the PT6A-21 engines installed in early Twin Otters and King Airs.
 
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