by Jerry Siebenmark

A second Cessna SkyCourier 408 flight-test aircraft, P1, yesterday completed its first flight, some 2.5 months after the initial flight of the prototype on May 17. Piloted by Peter Gracey and Todd Dafforn, the first conforming production flight test airplane flew for one hour and 35 minutes, reaching a maximum altitude of 14,200 feet at a maximum speed of 210 ktas.

“This flight is another important step for the Cessna SkyCourier program as it will be used primarily for testing aircraft systems such as avionics, environmental control, and anti-icing,” said Textron Aviation senior v-p of engineering and programs Chris Hearne. “Since the debut flight for the prototype aircraft, the team has rapidly moved through testing and has accomplished its goals of initial envelope expansion and handling, including stalls. When you consider they have achieved all these milestones despite the many disruptions caused by a global pandemic, it’s quite remarkable. The Cessna SkyCourier program is heading through the second half of 2020 with a great deal of momentum.”

P1 is the first airframe configured as a freighter and will be used primarily for systems—propulsion, environmental, and avionics—testing. It joins the prototype, which has completed 38 flights and logged more than 76 flight hours. The high-wing, twin-turboprop SkyCourier will be offered as a freighter, a 19-seat passenger version, and as a combination freighter/passenger airplane.