On July 21st, Textron Aviation announced that it is rebranding its Cessna Denali aircraft as Beechcraft Denali. The airplane will now join the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air family as part of the company’s turboprop product lineup. The prototype’s maiden flight is expected to take place later this year.
The Beechcraft Denali, previously known as the Cessna Denali, is a single-engine turboprop aircraft under development by Textron Aviation. The airplane, which was unveiled at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, is an entirely new design that is not based on any existing aircraft and should compete with the Pilatus PC-12 or the Daher-Socata TBM.
With expected lower operating costs, Garmin G3000 avionics, the Denali aircraft will have the largest cabin in its class. Not only that, but the aircraft’s jet-inspired cabin is designed to offer versatility and easily convert between passenger and cargo configurations. It has a standard seating layout of six individual reclining seats and a high-density seating option of nine seats.
Large windows, LED lighting, and an in-flight accessible baggage compartment will also be part of the features included in the cabin. The Denali is equipped with a climate-control switch panel on the sidewall as well that allows passengers to control the interior temperature and ventilation.
With one pilot and four passengers, it will fly at speeds of 328 mph (529 kph) and have a range of 1,841 miles (2,963 km) at high-speed cruising. During the last six months, the Beechcraft Denali development has reached a number of milestones ahead of its first flight.
The first Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) GE Aviation Catalyst engine (an engine that uses less fuel than prior turboprop technology) was placed on the first Beechcraft Denali prototype airframe earlier this month powering it for the first time. More engine runs are expected to take place in August, with the aircraft’s maiden flight scheduled for later this year.
According to Textron Aviation, two other prototypes are in the works. The company hopes to certify the Denali in 2023.