Textron delivers NBAA update, reveals Denali delay

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | October 21, 2019

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 38 seconds.

Textron Aviation is displaying eight aircraft at the 2019 National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas, Nev.

Among other platforms, the Wichita-based OEM is featuring mockups of its two newest turboprops – the Cessna Denali and the Cessna SkyCourier. In addition, Textron’s static display also includes its super-midsize Cessna Citation Longitude business jet and one of its mobile service units.

The first flight of the Denali aircraft has now been delayed to 2020 as Textron awaits delivery of the Catalyst 1300 engine from GE. Textron Photo

At a press conference on Oct. 21, Textron Aviation’s president and CEO, Ron Draper, said the manufacturer was proud to display the 12-passenger Longitude, which was certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in September.

“This was the largest type certification project to date for our company,” he said. “We’re really thrilled to put this tremendous aircraft into the hands of our operators and our customers. Deliveries have begun the first week of October and we’re getting great feedback from those customers.”

Draper said Textron expects special mission operators to employ the Longitude in flight inspection, air ambulance, ISR and other roles.

To complement the Longitude in service, Textron also announced it has released 3D interactive technical publications exclusively for the new jet.

“Essentially, it will give technicians the most advanced way to troubleshoot and maintain the aircraft,” said Draper.

With a click, maintenance personnel can access wiring diagrams and view complex parts in great detail using Textron’s 3DPubs. They can follow along with animated maintenance procedures to expedite the troubleshooting process and shorten down time.

“The Longitude’s clean-sheet design offered Textron Aviation engineers the chance to reimagine technical manuals,” said Kriya Shortt, senior vice president of Global Customer Support at Textron Aviation. “We’re committed to advancing all aspects of the industry, including aftermarket speed and support. Using the new 3D diagrams, maintenance technicians around the world can review and validate processes virtually before working on an aircraft – saving customers time and money.”

Textron’s new 3DPubs brings thousands of maintenance procedures, parts catalogs and more to life. Textron Photo

Textron achieved a number of milestones in 2019, reported Draper. In addition to the certification of the Longitude in September – 50 years to the month from the Citation’s very first flight – the company also handed over the 200th Citation Latitude, the first Latitude in an air ambulance configuration, the 300th Citation CJ4, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beech Baron, and the 500th Grand Caravan EX delivery.

Draper said the OEM is looking forward to a strong fourth quarter. “Jet volumes are up year over year from 2018 and we continue to invest in new programs for the future.”

The high-wing SkyCourier program is progressing well, with the first prototype of the utility aircraft expected to fly early next year. Delivery is slated to launch customer FedEx within 12 to 15 months of the first flight.

Textron expects its new single-engine turboprop Denali to be a market leader in a variety of missions and roles. The first prototype is progressing and nearing wing mate in Wichita.

However, the company revealed its first flight has now been delayed to 2020 as the OEM awaits delivery of the Catalyst 1300 engine from GE. The Denali had originally been slated to fly by year-end.

The SkyCourier program is progressing well, with the first prototype of the utility aircraft expected to fly early next year. Textron Photo

“The test engines are performing very well; they’re meeting or exceeding all the performance specifications,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. “We’re pleased with what we’re seeing from the test articles. At this point in time, GE has delayed delivery to 2020. We’re working with GE to understand the exact timing on that.”

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