Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft Denali turboprop single lifted off on its first flight Tuesday morning from Wichita Eisenhower National Airport on a flight over central and southern Kansas that lasted a little more than 2.5 hours.
During the test flight, the clean-sheet airplane reached an altitude of 15,400 feet and a top speed of 226 knots, according to information from FlightAware. The first flight comes after initial runs of the new GE Aviation Catalyst engine on the Denali prototype in late August. The 1,300-shp engine features Fadec and trend monitoring, which will provide on-condition maintenance with no required mid-life hot section inspection. The Catalyst can also operate on sustainable aviation fuel and with less fuel burn than older turboprops.
Originally branded as a Cessna airplane until mid-July, the Denali is equipped with Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics, including three, 14-inch diagonal, wide-screen LCDs, synthetic vision, ADS-B In/Out, and weather radar.
With an expected range of 1,600 nm, a maximum cruise speed of 285 knots, and a full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the airplane is configurable for both passenger and cargo missions with its flat floor.
The cabin includes a 53-by-59-inch rear cargo door as well as a digital pressurization system that maintains a 6,130-foot cabin to 31,000 feet and an optional externally serviceable belted lavatory with a pocket door. Large passenger windows, interior LED lighting, and options for a refreshment cabinet and an in-flight-accessible baggage compartment round out the Denali’s features.
In executive configuration, the Denali offers six individual reclining seats, club-configuration tables, and a refreshment unit. For commuter operations, it is equipped with nine forward-facing seats in a high-density configuration.
Two other flight-test Denalis are in development and three additional ground articles will be used for airframe static and fatigue testing, as well as cabin interior development testing. Denali certification is expected in 2023.