Textron Aviation which owns Cessna and Beechcraft among others announced last week it is moving forward on a new single-engine turboprop which appears to be aimed squarely at the Pilatus PC-12 market.
The goal is to have a range of 1,500 NM and fly at 280 kts with the ability to operate out of rough fields according to the Textron spokesperson. Before it’s acquisition by Textron, Beechcraft had plans in 2012 for a single-engine turboprop based on the composite Premier jet fuselage but ultimately did not have the funding at that time to pursue it.
Textron has resurrected those plans and is moving forward with a development team to bring it to market. A spokesperson at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI last week said they were planning to have something to show next year at this time.
Beechcraft mock-up image of the proposed single-engine turboprop in 2012 based on the Premier jet fuselage. Image courtesy of AOPA News
“As a pilot and aircraft owner, and also as someone involved in the air charter market, this is exciting,” remarked Rick Colson, founder and president of New Flight Charters, a large nationwide leader with a wealth of experience in the charter market over the past 12 years. “The diminishing demand and market of piston twins is largely a result of the introduction and growth of more capable and reliable single-engine turboprops, albeit more costly as well. With a family of 5+ for example, the step up from single and twin engine pistons is steep but also are the gains in reliability, comfort and safety, not to mention performance.”
These gains combined with attractive costs comparative to other turboprops and light jets provide for a popular private charter aircraft choice as well.
Textron’s Cessna track record of speedy new product development and launches, along with the Beechcraft legacy King Air line up and support, clear the skies for a successful new aircraft and perhaps a new category leader.
The Pilatus PC-12 has climbed in popularity over the past 10 years and has taken considerable share of, and expanded, the turboprop market as one of the most popular turbine powered business aircraft. Having arguably the most reliable aircraft engine in the world in the Pratt & Whitney PT-6 lends confidence and supports the category-leading performance, capability and operating cost of the PC-12.
It was only a matter of time before a rival product joined the market. And the Textron/Cessna/Beechcraft family is perfectly positioned. Bring on the new addition, it’s exciting news on many fronts.
Source: New Flight Charters