Beechcraft Denali flies for the first time

Single-engine executive turboprop is Textron Aviation’s new bet to compete with the Pilatus PC-12

On Tuesday, Textron Aviation carried out the first flight of the Beechcraft Denali, its new executive single-engine turboprop.

The aircraft, still unpainted, took off from the company’s base at Eisenhower International Airport at 8:20 am (local time) and carried out a flight that lasted 2 hours and 50 minutes.

According to Textron, the Denali reached a speed of 180 knots and an altitude of 15,600 feet. Crew members evaluated the aircraft’s performance, stability and control, as well as its propulsion, environmental, flight controls and avionics systems.

Denali’s main differential is the new Catalyst engine, supplied by GE Aviation, which offers more efficient performance than older turboprops. It is 20% more economical and can use sustainable jet fuel.

Beechcraft Denali (Textron)

But it was precisely the engine that delayed the program. Originally, Denali would be part of Cessna’s portfolio, but Textron chose to place it alongside King Air on Beechcraft.

Denali promises to deliver a very expressive performance. The aircraft will have a cruising speed of 285 knots, payload of 1,100 pounds and a range of 1,600 nm, enough to fly between Los Angeles and Chicago nonstop.

Designed to compete with the Pilatus PC-12 in the market, Textron aims at the Denali certification in 2023.

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