Upcoming Beechcraft Denali Turboprop Completes First Flight, Enters Test Phase

Textron Aviation pilots recently completed the first flight of the manufacturer’s upcoming single-engine Beechcraft Denali turboprop model. The flight took place November 23 at the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. (Photo courtesy of Textron Aviation.)

With the first flight of its upcoming Beechcraft Denali single-engine turboprop now in the books, Textron Aviation will begin the flight test program to substantiate the clean-sheet-design aircraft’s performance. Senior Test Pilot Peter Gracey and Chief Test Pilot Dustin Smisor flew a Denali prototype for nearly three hours on November 23, reaching an altitude of 15,600 feet (4,755 meters) and speeds of 180 knots. During the flight, they tested the aircraft’s stability and control, propulsion, and avionics systems.

“From the beginning of the flight to the end, the Denali was simply flawless,” Gracey says. “It’s just a great aircraft to fly. The Catalyst engine was outstanding, and the aircraft performed to the levels we were anticipating. First flights really can’t go more smoothly than this. We are really off to an excellent start for the Denali flight test program.”

Onward & Upward

The Denali prototype’s first flight took place at Textron’s west campus at the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport. Textron expects the Denali to receive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification in 2023. Along with the Denali prototype aircraft, Textron will use two additional flight test articles and three full airframe ground test articles to test aircraft systems, the engine, avionics, and overall performance.

The Denali Inspected

Textron says the Denali’s new GE Aviation Catalyst engine is the first clean-sheet turboprop engine in more than 30 years. The Full Authority Digital Engine Controlled (FADEC) power plant provides 1,300 shaft horsepower (969 kilowatts) and features single-lever power and propeller control. The Catalyst uses sustainable aviation fuel and consumes up to 20% less fuel than older turboprop technologies, Textron says. The Denali has a maximum range of 1,600 nautical miles (2,963 kilometers) at a top cruise speed of 285 knots with one pilot and four passengers onboard, and can fly from Los Angeles to Chicago, New York to Miami, or London to Moscow.

Textron will now use the Denali prototype aircraft, two additional flight test articles, and three full airframe ground test articles to test the Denali’s aircraft systems, engine, avionics, and overall performance. (Photo courtesy of Textron Aviation.)

The Denali is also equipped with a new, 105-inch (266-centimeter) McCauley composite five-blade constant-speed propeller with full feathering, reversible pitch, and ice protection. The plane’s Garmin 3000 avionics suite includes three 14-inch widescreen displays and two touchscreen control panels. The built-in Garmin auto-throttle interfaces with the automatic flight control system (AFCS) and flight management system (FMS).

More Than Performance

Textron claims the upcoming Beechcraft will have the most spacious cabin in its segment. Measuring 4.8 feet (1.5 meters) high by 5.3 ft (1.6 m) wide by 16.75 ft (5.1 m) long, the flat-floor cabin interior is adaptable between passenger and cargo configurations. Passenger options include a standard six-seat executive configuration with reclining seats or nine-seat high-density configuration for commuter applications.

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Source: Textron Aviation

Posted On: 11/29/2021 12:00:00 AM