Textron Aviation’s new Cessna Denali will be powered by GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboprop, which the engine company said this week was successfully run for the first time. Textron Aviation Courtesy illustration
Textron Aviation’s new Cessna Denali will be powered by GE Aviation’s Advanced Turboprop, which the engine company said this week was successfully run for the first time. Textron Aviation Courtesy illustration

Aviation

How another company’s milestone is key to development of new Cessna plane

By Jerry Siebenmark

jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com

December 28, 2017 03:01 PM

GE Aviation this week said it successfully tested its first Advanced Turboprop engine, which will power the new Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop airplane.

The announcement means GE Aviation is on track with its engine development plans, which Textron Aviation is counting on to keep to its own schedule for development of the Denali, which will be manufactured by some of the company’s 9,000 Wichita employees.

“Running the Advanced Turboprop engine this year was our biggest and most important goal,” Brad Mottier, vice president and general manager of GE Aviation’s Business & General Aviation and Integrated Systems organization, said in a news release. “This milestone comes as a result of two years of tremendous effort by a worldwide team.”

Textron Aviation, the parent of Cessna, is planning to fly the Denali in late 2018. The airplane is expected to open up a new segment of the single-engine turboprop market for Textron Aviation. It’s a segment that has been dominated by Swiss airplane maker Pilatus and its PC-12. Pilatus has delivered more than 1,400 of the airplanes.

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It’s a market that Brad Thress, Textron Aviation senior vice president of engineering, said in an earlier interview represents deliveries of well over 100 units a year.

“And we don’t see that diminishing,” Thress said in a July 25 story in the Eagle.

GE Aviation, which is spending more than $400 million to develop the 1,240-shaft horsepower engine, said it will now begin the process of certifying the engine.

It estimates the engine will undergo more than 2,000 hours of testing by the time the Denali enters service. Textron Aviation has not said when it expects the $4.8 million Denali to do that.

From NBAA in Las Vegas, Textron Aviation's Christi Tannahill leads a tour of and changes to the interior of the Cessna Citation Hemisphere, a $35 million large-cabin business jet scheduled to make its first flight in 2019. Video by Jerry Siebenmar

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Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark