Cessna Denali poised to redefine segment as first test articles come to life

Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. company, has announced the status of development on its new high-performance Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop, as the program begins fabrication of the first test articles. The clean-sheet Denali will incorporate the latest technology and is being designed to outperform its competition in capability, pilot interface, cabin experience and ownership costs.

Engineered to achieve cruise speeds of 285 knots and full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the Denali will have a range of 1,600 nautical miles at high-speed cruise with one pilot and four passengers and will be able to fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York to Miami or London to Moscow. Textron Photos
Engineered to achieve cruise speeds of 285 knots and full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the Denali will have a range of 1,600 nautical miles at high-speed cruise with one pilot and four passengers. Textron Photos
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Powered by GE’s advanced turboprop engine, the Denali will offer single-lever power and propeller control to ease pilot workload, a feature currently not offered in this class of aircraft.

Since the Denali was unveiled at Oshkosh last summer, program engineers have started fabrication of the first static and fatigue test articles and initiated testing with the fuel system iron bird test article.

“This is an exciting time in the Denali program as this aircraft is now coming to life through the production of the first test articles,” said Brad Thress, senior vice-president, engineering. “The level of attention that goes into this phase of development results in a highly mature product in later stages of the development program, ultimately allowing us to deliver customers a best-in-class aircraft.”

Textron Aviation has begun fabrication of Denali door test articles, including the 53-inch wide by 59-inch tall aft cargo door. The large aft cargo door will add enhanced capability to the Denali, particularly for special mission operators.

First in this class of aircraft, the Denali will offer customers an optional externally serviceable belted lavatory with pocket door enclosure that is located in the back of the cabin. Denali customers will also enjoy the large cabin windows, interior LED lighting, a forward refreshment cabinet and an in-flight accessible baggage compartment.
Program engineers have started fabrication of the first static and fatigue test articles and initiated testing with the fuel system iron bird test article.

Denali engineers have also started tests on the complete fuel system iron bird mock-up, which has already yielded valuable feedback for the development team, allowing them to fine-tune the system early in the process.

Additionally, testing is well underway on McCauley’s 105-inch, five-blade composite propeller. Program engineers have successfully completed propeller test runs at max RPM, vibration testing and bird strike testing.

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