Leggat Aviation, Textron embark on Cessna Caravan tour across Eastern Canada

Avatar for Annie VogelBy Annie Vogel | May 17, 2022

Estimated reading time 9 minutes, 54 seconds.

It’s a perfect blue-bird day in Southern Ontario. The winds are benign and the air is smooth, with just enough of a breeze to cool your skin down from the beating sun. I finish my cup of coffee in the Collingwood Airport terminal when my ride arrives — a 2021 Cessna 208 Caravan. Could this day get any better? The 208 is an iconic aircraft whose purpose-built, hardy, workhorse reputation does not disappoint. Today, I’ll have the chance to fly it and talk to the crew about what makes the aircraft so outstanding.

Leggat Aviation and Textron Aviation team members stand with the Cessna 208 Caravan at Collingwood Airport. Annie Vogel Photo

I walk out to greet the crew and Leggat Aviation’s representative, Anna Pangrazzi. Last year, Leggat was appointed the Eastern Canada Caravan Dealer.

“Eastern Canada has historically been a strong market for our Caravan products, and this expanded relationship with Leggat Aviation provides us greater opportunity to meet the growing demand for our aircraft in the region,” said Lannie O’Bannion of Textron Aviation.

Leggat and Textron have planned a week-long demo tour where their Caravan will fly across Eastern Canada with stops in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, and New Brunswick. 

The Caravan sat on the tarmac waiting for me, and oh man, did it ever have a presence. With a wingspan of 52 feet and a height of 14 ft, it stands out.

The author at the controls of the Caravan with Textron Aviation demo pilot, Don Woodward. Annie Vogel Photo

Onlookers chat excitedly amongst themselves as they stand along the flightline, eager to watch the aircraft take off. As I jump into the front seat, I’m instantly struck by two things: first, how high up I’m sitting from the ground, and second, the smell of fresh, executive leather interior seating — mmm… new plane smell. I sit in the left seat alongside Textron Aviation demo pilot, Don Woodward, and shut the door behind me — ready to take flight. 

After completing the checklist, we set ourselves up for a short field takeoff departing runway 13. On our takeoff roll, I’m surprised by how quickly we get off the ground. I see the ground move away beneath us less than half way down the 5,000-ft runway.

We fly northeast along Georgian Bay, winding around into steep turns; slow flight along the way. The Caravan is incredibly maneuverable. Even in landing configuration the controls are very responsive.

The 208 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A engine. Annie Vogel Photo

Flying the Caravan was an interesting experience because it was simpler than I had anticipated. After speaking to a few Caravan pilots, they confirmed that it was less work than a Cessna 182 and better yet, a dream to fly on floats.

The Caravan is downright powerful. With a 675-horsepower PT6A-114A engine giving this 4,700-pound beauty wings, it’s no wonder where it gets its reputation for reliability. With a max rate of climb of 1,200 ft per minute and a cruising speed of 186 knots, you’ll get wherever you’re going in a hurry. Its robust landing gear allows you to operate from grass to gravel, and even more rudimentary runways, giving you more freedom and capability than most know what to do with.

“We can go into grass strips, short strips, 2,100-ft strips with obstacles… you can manage the load so you can handle that,” said Woodward. “You can get into places that are remote and out of the way… off the beaten path. I think that’s my favorite part of the Caravan.”

With aviation really stepping into the modern age in recent years with regard to avionics technology, the 208 was certainly not left behind. All Caravans are now outfitted with the G1000 NXi avionics suite, taking a huge workload off of the pilot and creating safety redundancies that increase a sense of security. Managing the flight deck is seamless, and helps increase the pilot’s situational awareness. The autopilot is a nice touch, taking a significant workload off of the crew during long flights.

Our landing roll, back in Collingwood, was short. And I mean really short. The posted landing distance for the Caravan on the Textron website is 1,625 ft, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we had it closer to 1,000 ft on our short field landing.

The smile on Don’s face was a solid indication that he was happy with the performance, and I was impressed — to say the least.

We taxied off the runway, and while our flight came to an end, my smile persisted for the remainder of the day. What an incredible aircraft to experience in flight.

All Caravans are now outfitted with the G1000 NXi avionics suite. Annie Vogel Photo

For a more detailed overview of our flight in the Caravan, be sure to watch the video below!

If you want to get up close and personal with the Cessna 208 Caravan, there’s still time! Join Leggat Aviation and Textron for the remainder of their Cessna 208 Caravan tour:

  • May 14 – Toronto Buttonville Airport
  • May 15 – Collingwood Regional Airport
  • May 16 – Montreal LUX FBO (CYHU airport)
  • May 17 – Quebec City LUX FBO
  • May 18 – Fredricton International Airport

*On display from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Flying demos by appointment. Register by emailing apangrazzi@leggataviation.com

Thanks to the teams at Leggat and Textron for taking the time to show us around. We wish them a safe journey and continued success in 2022.

For more information, visit https://www.leggataviation.com

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