Textron Aviation has completed initial ground engine runs on the prototype Beechcraft Denali single engine turboprop powered by GE Aviation's new Catalyst engine. The ground engine runs, which took place at Textron Aviation's west campus in Wichita, Kansas, verified the functionality of the fuel system and engine, as well as the interface with the avionics and electrical systems. The testing moves the aircraft closer to its first flight, which is anticipated by the end of the year.
GE Aviation's 1,300 shaft horsepower rated turboprop Catalyst engine has completed over 2,450 hours of testing and is preparing for a first flight on its Beechcraft King Air flying test bed. The engine burns less fuel than older turboprop engines and it can also use sustainable aviation fuel, resulting in lower emissions.
The Beechcraft Denali development programme has achieved several important milestones. The GE Aviation Catalyst engine was installed on the Beechcraft Denali prototype airframe and the aircraft was powered on for the first time. Two other Denali flight test articles are also in development. Three additional ground test articles will be used for the airframe static and fatigue tests, and for cabin interior development and testing. Textron anticipates certification for the Denali in 2023.
“These successful engine runs are a significant step toward the upcoming inaugural flight for the Beechcraft Denali, and they are a testament to the determination and collaboration from both the Textron Aviation and GE Aviation teams,” says Chris Hearne, senior vice president of engineering. “The Denali features a technologically advanced engine that burns less fuel. It has an intuitive avionics suite that eases pilot workload and boasts the most spacious cabin in its segment. We are excited to get this aircraft into the hands of our eager customers.”
The Denali cockpit features the Garmin G3000 avionics suite featuring high-resolution screens and touchscreen controllers. An integrated Garmin autothrottle is now a feature as standard, which interfaces with the automatic flight control system and flight management system to provide speed control. The aircraft boasts a digital pressurisation system maintaining a 6,000-foot cabin altitude at a service ceiling of 30,000 feet.
The aircraft is equipped with McCauley's new 105-inch diameter composite, 5-blade, constant speed propeller, which is full feathering with reversible pitch and ice protection. The propeller will undergo a series of certification tests, and several are already underway.
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