By Mary Grady
Textron Aviation has "been listening to the market" and sees an opportunity to introduce a new single-engine turboprop, the company confirmed in an email to AVweb on Monday. "This is an entirely new, clean-sheet design aircraft -- not a derivative or variant of any existing product," the company said. The company is not yet releasing details about the project, but said their intent is to "outperform the competition" in parameters including cabin size, acquisition cost, and performance capability. "By leveraging the newest technologies, we expect this aircraft to have a range of more than 1,500 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 280 knots, while offering best-in-class operating costs," according to the company's statement. The design will be on display next year at EAA AirVenture.
In its recent second-quarter shipments report, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said 191 single-engine turboprops had been delivered in the first six months of 2015, compared to 217 delivered in the same period last year. Textron already produces several turboprop aircraft, including the single-engine Cessna Caravan line and the Beechcraft King Air twins.
The rumor mill churned at last week’s NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, Ga., that Cessna Aircraft Co., may have something up its sleeve in addition to the Citation Ten it unveiled there.
In the video above, AOPA Pilot interviews Cessna CEO Jack Pelton and he hints that the aircraft maker might be developing a single-turboprop model to be marketed as an option in between the Corvalis TT and Citation Mustang.
“(It) would ideally have a cruise speed greater than 300 knots,” Pelton says in the interview. “And a price point between $1 and $2.2 million. We want to be south of the Mustang in terms of price.”
Russ Niles writes for AvWeb this week that such an aircraft could compete with the Piper Meridian and Socata TBM 850, as Corvalis and Cirrus Aircraft pilots look to train up for an increase of range and speed.
Pelton has said he wants the Cessna product line to be ready to absorb new buyers as the economy rights itself. He told AOPA Pilot that he would like for a new product to be rolled out at the AOPA Aviation Summit next month in Long Beach, Calif. However, such an announcement may be “too soon,” he said.
An N-number has surfaced among aviation sleuths, N350CE, that shows up in our aircraft registration tool as a single turboprop two-seater registered to Cessna. It is listed there as a Cessna E350.
UPDATE: AvWeb now has what it says are images of the Cessna turboprop. Check them out here